By Marsha Sandman | CNA Media Team
Concordia resident Gayle MacDonald, M.S, LMT, has a few tricks up her sleeves. So many that you’d think she has many more sleeves and more than just two hands. But oh what those hands are capable of doing: massage therapist, educator, author, traveler, mentor and astrologer.
Gayle’s family brought her to Portland from Montana when she was just two months old, and she has spent practically her entire life in the Concordia neighborhood.
She has taught health and physical education at Jefferson and Adams high schools. Then, for 1985-1986 she received a Fulbright scholarship to teach health and physical education in Scotland.
After an illness forced her from her original career, she became the health and physical educator she always wanted to be.
Massage became her passion. With her teaching background, the massage school she attended asked her to develop a program doing massage at an assortment of locations, including drug rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, as well as at naturopathic and chiropractic offices.
In 1993 Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) asked Gayle to send massage students to work on cancer patients. Early in her massage education, Gayle had been told massage could cause cancers to spread.
However, her in-depth research indicated otherwise. She learned it is possible, with specialized skills, to offer massage to cancer patients and survivors.
So, since 1994 she has worked with cancer patients, and she has provided specialized massage training to massage therapists at OHSU and other hospitals throughout the United States, Scotland, Australia, Ireland, Sweden and Holland.
In 2005 she wrote “Massage for the Hospital Patient and Medically Frail Client,” now in its second edition. In 2014 she wrote “Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer,” now in its third edition. They have been translated in two languages.
Gayle is the creator of the Oncology Massage Healing Summit and Oncology Massage Education Associates. You can reach Gayle at MedHands825@gmail. com.
Her students are often seen at OHSU attending to cancer patients who, in the past may have been denied the therapeutic and soothing effects of massage.
What’s next? She is remodeling her home, planning more overseas teaching, developing programs to mentor therapists and teachers, and teaching astrology workshops.
While she is dedicated to teaching, natural health and nutrition, Gail said she would just like a little more time to write Haiku.
After living east, south, north and west, Marsha is home at last. And she wants to hear your story. Contact her at MarshaJSandman@gmail.com.