Cindy Spence began her healthcare career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Guatemala, returning to the US to complete a master’s degree in public health at the University of North Carolina. She has been a massage therapist specializing in palliative care since 1999, after her father-in-law’s dying wish for gentle touch inspired her to attend massage school. Since that time, Cindy has completed more than 4,500 massages for people with advanced and terminal illness. These sessions have occurred in home environments, skilled nursing facilities and inpatient settings across north Texas. She has been employed since April 2017 at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice Inpatient Center for Faith Presbyterian Hospice in Dallas.
With her teaching partner, Susan Gee, Cindy created and teaches Clinical Skills for End-of-Life Massage, a nationally-certified course for massage therapists and nurses. She recently wrote Chapter 14, “Sacred Time: Touch at the End of Life” for the second edition of Hands in Healthcare: Massage Therapy for the Adult Hospital Patient by Gayle MacDonald and Carolyn Tague, available from Handspring Publishing. As a pancreatic cancer survivor since 2005, Cindy believes in the power of choice and the pursuit of optimal wellbeing at all phases of life, particularly during advanced illness and the dying process. She is writing Palliative Touch as a resource for others who feel called to provide caring presence in the form of skilled touch.