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Touch for the Seriously Ill

14 CE Hours - E1086

Average rating based on the following evaluation questions:

  1. The presentation of the subject was clear and to the point.
  2. Content was interesting to me.
  3. I gained new knowledge.
  4. The materials held my attention.
  5. I can use this information in my practice.
  6. This program met my personal expectations.
  7. Overall quality of course content and materials were excellent.

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Written by experts in the field, this course provides a depth of experience and sensitivity for working with seriously ill clients.

In this course, you will learn about:

  • common stressful issues of illness care.
  • support systems and mentors - their importance and benefits.
  • responding appropriately when you feel overwhelmed.
  • the philosophical and practical aspects of working with the seriously ill.
  • introductory skilled touch for seriously ill people.
  • full body massage for bedridden clients.
  • working in illness-care environments - hospitals, nursing homes, hospice and home care.
  • considerations when working with people that are HIV positive.
  • sexuality issues that might arise when working with seriously ill clients.
  • comforting people who are dying.
  • contraindications when working with seriously ill clients.
  • ethical dilemmas that occur when working with clients in illness care settings.
  • saying goodbye and coping with the death of a client.

A list of resources for further study, including sources for hands-on training, are included.

Featured Reviews

This was a really helpful course for me. I have thought a lot about working with seriously ill people and have been told that it is a challenge that I may not be able to handle. I appreciate the author's openness and detail of her experiences. I am now better informed of the realities as the course has given me much food for thought.

- Kimberly Cook, LMT

I felt this was one of the clearest and most informative courses I have yet to take. There were only a few places in which I needed to re read the information...and that was probably my own lack of concentration at the moment. Thank you for a very informative and interesting course.

- Bonnie Bates, LMT

This class was very informative and helpful in my practice as I am asked to attend to more and more people in medical settings. I thought the HIV/AIDS information was particularly clear, concise and helpful. Thank you for the opportunity to take this class.

- Kay Bene, LMT, NCTMB

Touch for the Seriously Ill is the best distance continuing education course I have ever taken in my 20+ years as a therapist. The content is relevant, interesting, useful and personal. There was a bit too much on HIV/Aids education and treatment, but the overall emphasis on learning to approach, understand and cope with serious illness is excellent. Great job, and well worth purchasing the printed materials, which I expect to refer to and even share with my clients. Thank you for injecting new energy into a field that can be very draining!

- Selah Kaiser, LMBT, LMP, LMT, NCTMB

Course was much more informative than I expected and provided excellent refresher material that I had forgotten. I was truly impressed with the people/resources that were utilized in preparing this course. Thank you for providing the convenience and information on a subject dear o my heart. I do volunteer work with Hospice and will recommend it to all Hospice Massage Therapists.

- Holly Brim, CMT, NCTMB

This course was really interesting and important to me since I look after my husband who is not well in many ways. It reminded me to take more care and patience in how I communicate with him which can be difficult since he is very hard of hearing. Sharon and Irene are both so inspiring with their work and I appreciate their sharing so much to help all of us who are massage therapists.

- Sarah Newfeld-Green, LMT

I work in a hospice setting. The information presented was invaluable to me. Both Sharon's and Irene's open sharing was inspiring and made me proud to be in this profession, doing this work. The factual info was clear and concise and is a wonderful adjunct and resource for me. And reminds me how important it is to refresh what we know and hear it again and again. They are both wonderful role models...they make me strive to be the best I can. Well-informed, well-said information presented with care and compassion.

- Carole Forman, CMT

This is a wonderful course. It covers everything from matters of the heart to disease transmission in an easy to grasp, interesting manner. I plan to keep this information on hand because it is such a quality reference.

- Leigh Chen, Massage Therapist, South Carolina

I felt the information was very informative and caused me to evaluate how I am currently performing in my massage practice. I appreciate the candor and openness of the personal experiences of the writers and educators. It helped me see how important it is to have a professional support system. I felt it was outstanding and I wish to thank all responsible for enlightening me further.

- Patricia A. Standfield LMT, NCTMB, AMTA, Rock Hill, SC

I found this course extremely interesting..loved it!

- Cynthia Tomasik, LMT

This was by far the most difficult, extensive and interesting CUE course I have taken in 25 years. The Case Studies were very compelling to read and the material on HIV was succinct but thorough. Some of it was new to me. I will keep this course in my Library.

- Donald L. Neely, CMT, BCTMB

I truly loved this course! Even though it was more expensive than some other courses I took it was well worth it. Aside from the hands on teaching I really enjoyed the emotional aspect of working with the seriously ill. Also the details of different disease processes was top notch. I am also a Registered Nurse and will definitely take all of my future courses from the Institute. Thank you.

- Rosemarie Mussler, CMT

This program was excellent. Since I am also an RN in the hospital I truly enjoyed the information given from a medical point.

- Lorraine Walter, LMT


- Jennifer Marino, LMT

Well written/presented. Good reminders at times for those of us who work with seriously ill patients all the time.

- Judy L. Riggs, LMT, BCTMB

This course was wonderful. I found the insights of the writer more effective than the "data" of the course. I have been Nationally Certified since 2000 and I found their insights fabulous.

- Melinda R. Schilling, LMT, BCTMB

I work in a hospital setting, as well as having my own practice. In the hospital setting many of the patients are seriously ill. I gained new knowledge and understanding for this setting.

- Julia Rierson, LMBT

Very insightful course. Quick shipping. Nice, easy to read materials. Appreciate reference section. Easy online testing. Thank you!

- Theresa Lewis, LMT

Thank you for this course. This is very helpful. Beautifully presented.

- Bonnie Bicknell, LMT

I enjoyed personal case studies. It helped make the text more relevant.

- Rhonda Pessin, BCTMB

Touch for the Seriously Ill is an excellent course. I have several years experience in this work, and it both confirmed many of my own thoughts and experiences and gave me additional new perspectives on the work.

- Patricia Rackowski, LMT, NCTMB

I appreciate the format in which the information is presented. I also appreciate the supplemental information, references, websites,etc., which are included. I highly recommend these courses to others.

- Eileen Keegan, LMT

Excellent course! Easy to follow and understand and covered a variety of topics.

- Kerstin Usher, LMT

This was a very valuable course not only for my practice but also helping with elderly family and friends.

- Lorena Sue Boyce, LMT, BCTMB

Very in depth. Good reading. Much learning and reinforcement.

- Therese Gregory, RN, LMT

I enjoyed this course very much. I work with elderly and ill people a fair amount and found this interesting and helpful.

- Martha Wiltshire, BCTMB

I learned a lot which makes me more comfortable in my practice of touching and visiting those who are seriously ill.

- Stella Cronauer, LMT, NCTMB

It was beyond my expectations of what it sounded like in the description. Very inforamtive, a must take for anyone considering working in a hospital or hospice facility.

- Marilyn Nylen, LMT, NCTMB

The materials were very informative. I learned many new facts.

- Barbara Kadri, CMT, NCTMB

I am a full time massage therapist and found that I learned some things that will improve my care

- Alan Ritz

I work in a nursing home. This education will allow me to help my residents more.

- Karen Baker, LMT

It was a great introduction to this fascinating area of medical need.

- Darcy Sturges, LMT

Wonderful course. Great intro material on caring for the ill with sound reminders on ethics and practice standards.

- Cindy Nybakken, LMT

Loved the personal presentations in this course.

- Teresa Larsen, RMT

I like the straight-forward content. The information clarifies the reality of working with seriously ill clients, including emotional challenges, the environment, responsibilities and the importance of boundaries.

- Lana Neilson, LMT, NCTMB

This course was all I had hoped for and more! It was very interesting, informative and educational. Thank you for offering it!

- K. Bruno, LMT, NCTMB

Very interesting and informative! Thank you for sharing your expertise.

- Melissa Lucier, LMT

Great course! I work in hospice and this informative and supportive

- Joy THomas, LMT

The information was interesting and useful.

- Theresa Stark, LMT, NCTMB

Good review for infectious diseases and valuable new information for a better understanding of caring for the seriously ill.

- Carol Quinn

I especially valued the authors emphasis on being "centered" and "grounded" while working with clients. It was a wonderful reminder on how important it is to be aware of my own feelings and fears, so that I can be more compassionately present.

- Mary Osten, LMT, NCTMB

I rate this program a 10 I will be referring back to it frequently. One of the most interesting program I have read on this subject in awhile. Thanks Sharon Winstead

- Sharon Winstead, LMT

This course was easy to understand and very helpful in my ongoing practice.

- Cynthia Gamboa-Bacani, LMT, NCTMB

This has inspired me to do my own workshop after my journey with my mother's Alzheimer's. In some ways I wish I had read this beforehand, but then again, reading it afterward reaffirmed much of what I dealt with and learned. Thanks so much.

- Bettina Freese, LMBT

I thought this course was very informative.

- Roseanne DAndrea, LMT

Great course! Easy to follow instructions and a great way to complete ceu classes from the comfort of you own home at your own pace. Will be very helpful when working with elderly clients.

- Jessica Phelps, LMT

The course was very interesting and most exceptional is the information on HIV/AIDS and related terminal illnesses. Information that I have not received in the HIV/AIDS courses for re-certification is presented with astounding exactness and clarity.

- Gerald Jordan, Jr., LMT, NCTMB

Loved the content of this course, i'd helped me learn more about the work we do for the seriously ill, thank you

- Alejandra Marroquin, LMT

I love the courses I have taken and always learn new ways to improve my practice and there fore my clients overall expirences.

- Patricia Schuster, LMT

Even though I have been practicing for 15 years, I learned much from this course. Excellent course! Thank you!

- Susan Morgan, LMT, NCTMB

It is a good overall picture of what to expect when working with the seriously ill.

- Patricia Michaelson, NCTMB

I am very pleased with these courses. They provide a wide array of subject matter.

- Dianne Marcinizyn, LMT, NCTMB

I always enjoy the educational information I receive from these courses. If I don't use the info directly in my practice, it is still a benefit to be able to discuss topics intelligently with others.

- Kathleen Wright, CMT, NCTMB

This course has real insight about working with the seriously ill. I feel it does a good job of balancing scientific knowledge and personal experience to deliver substantial and reliable information.

- Nathan Trainor, CMT

I greatly appreciated this course; content,presentation,relevance,research and references were all useful. It was also an excellent reminder of the importance of being present with ourselves an our clients.

- Donna Ford, RN, CMT

This was the most informative class I've yet taken. Well done.

- Sarah Baker, LMT

I thought this was a great course. Also had great references which I looked up. Very happy with this course.

- Rachael Paterson, CMT

Fantastic! As someone who has been working with Hospice patients and families, this was a wonderful encouragement and refresher. Have already recommended to my colleages. I was pleasantly surprised by the material content. Thanks again. I will be back!

- Angela Ciliberto, LMT

I enjoyed the convenience of studying and taking the test at my home.

- Abigail E. Campbell LMT, NCTMB, Austin, TX

An interesting course and great to be able to do it online

- Alison Fettus-Shenot

Great course content. It stimulated my interest to further educate in this area!!

- C. Fearnow C.M.T.

Excellent and informative - very detailed information. I enjoyed reading the case studies.

- Carolyn Delanoy, BS LMT

The book is an excellent resource for my practice and will help me teach the basics in massage for the Frail and Elderly to massage students.

- Debbie Hennecke, NCTMB, Overland Park, Kansas

I have been practicing massage for over ten years, and this is one of the best CEU courses I have taken.

- Debra Kuhn, LMT

Interesting and informative course about the key aspects of skilled touch for seriously ill persons. It gives a clear picture and a good walk though. I recommend it for therapists who need help in deciding if this is their calling before they leap.

- Doris Williams

This was very simple to understand and I enjoyed this course

- Elizabeth Munger LMT

I was taking this course just for the credits, however I learned valuable information and found myself interested in stretching my practice.

- Jane Barton, CRS LMT Mind Body Therapy and Therapeutic Massage

The materials were interesting and elaborated on what we were taught in Massage Therapy school. I would strongly recommend this course to every practitioner.

- Kathleen (Kat) Juffre, NCTMB, LMT North Conway, NH

I have always wanted to work with Hospice patients, but something has held me back. From taking this course I realize that it's my own fear and doubts. I have so much love and compassion to give. I feel stronger emotionally and will persue further training in this field. Thank you!

- Kathleen L. Malekovic, LPN, NCTMB - Caring Hands Massage Therapy

A wonderful educational insight into the power touch holds for severely ill persons.

- Lauren M. Theademan, LMT Union, KY

This information gave me a greater understanding of how to work with someone who is ill or emotionally vulnerable. I really enjoyed the course and now want to go on to train hands-on in this area. The course was very informative and yet still connected me to my heart.

- Margaret Buckman, LMT

This was an excellent course, because it really seemed to come from the wisdom of the authors and their extensive background in actual hands-on work.

- Patricia McCary, Lincoln, VT

This course was very interesting. I learned so much that I know I will be able to use it wherever I go.

- Priscilla Tissoni, Neuromuscular Therapist, Griffin, GA

This was very informative and I think I will extend my education and service to the seriously ill client.

- Sheila Brown

This course was extremely informative and is a course I will be able to take advantage of in my practice.

- Sherry Lewis LMBT, NCTMB Healing Touch Massage - Glenville, NC.

Well done - impressed with the insights into care & needs of terminally ill; as well as care givers working with this population.

- Susan Reiss

Very helpful, liked the research references.

- Teresa L. Janz LMT, BSN, Masters Ed.


  • Manual - 127 pages
  • Multiple-choice test - if you prefer to complete this program online please select the "Materials: Available online + Test: Available online" option
  • Certificate upon completion - if you prefer to print your certificate at home instantly, please select the online option

Display Certificates suitable for framing are available for $10 in addition to the certificate included with your tuition. Click here to order a Display Certificate.


The Institute is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Approved Provider 049478-00.

Credits also accepted by the AMTA, ABMP and NAHA.

For information regarding your specific state massage license requirements and approvals, visit our Massage Therapy Continuing Education Requirements page by clicking here.


Sharon Burch, MSN, RN, NCTMB

Sharon Burch, MSN, RN, NCTMB

Sharon Burch holds a Masters Degree in Nursing and has been practicing as a nurse since 1974. She is currently a Registered Nurse in the state of Arkansas. Additionally, Ms. Burch studied under many of today's leaders in massage therapy and bodywork during the 1980s, became Nationally Certified through the NCBTMB in 1993 and holds a professional membership with the AMTA.

As founder of Health Positive!, Ms. Burch has created over 60 home study nursing and massage continuing education programs, performed over 65 public, live educational presentations, has written two published books, served as a member on the NCBTMB Continuing Education committee and was a founding member of the National Association of Nurse Massage Therapists.

Sharon is an instructor on many of the Institute's programs and has authored and co-authored various ethics courses and additional titles such as Touch for the Seriously Ill, Stress Reduction Through Bodywork, Staying Well – Naturally, Cardiopulmonary Health and Illness, Chronic Pain Management, Marketing Massage in Four Easy Steps, Preventing Medical Errors, HIV Update for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers, Understanding HIV, Massage for Edema and more.

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