Touch of Relief: Bringing Massage to the Disadvantaged

Working with trauma can be extremely rewarding and provide unique opportunities as well as challenges to your practice. Being of service to some of the most needy populations can bring richness and a sense of abundance to your work. But, it's frustrating and disheartening when you spend countless hours trying to connect with communities, organizations and bureaucratic agencies only to be put off, misunderstood, or ignored. At Touch of Relief, we have broken through some of those barriers and provided massage therapists wonderful opportunities to work with wounded veterans and their families, domestic violence survivors and their children, and natural disaster victims, first responders, and relief volunteers around the country. We will discuss ways individual therapists can get involved in their own communities and how to create meaningful partnerships that can open doors to clients and resources like funders, corporate sponsors, non profit organizations, and regional and national agencies. This is a grassroots effort to bring the benefits of massage to those who have experienced trauma and who wouldn't normally have access.

Jaime Bernardo

Jaime Bernardo, Executive Director, Touch of Relief: Jaime came into the holistic healthcare field after twelve years of being a teacher and program director for youth leadership training programs and eleven years in corporate sales, marketing, and management positions. Jaime established a private practice in 2000 and returned as a faculty member where he continues to teach as a lead instructor. In 2006, Jaime was appointed state coordinator of the Massage Emergency Response Team (MERT) for the American Massage Therapy Association Maryland Chapter. In 2007 he became the Maryland state coordinator for Emergency Response Massage International (ERMI), an independent national disaster relief organization. Jaime has led four deployments to the Gulf region for Katrina relief work. Jaime also administered grants for PMTI beginning in 2005 and led a team of therapists who performed weekly services for injured veterans and their families. He continues to manage this program. Jaime received a degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland.




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