Workshops in Comforting Touch

Touch brings together physical, mental and energetic qualities that make for the best caregiving. Wordlessly, touch can help to reduce a recipient’s anxiety and pain, to calm children who are upset, and to communicate with loved ones who have lost the ability to use verbal language. Furthermore, touch used with awareness also has benefits for the caregiver.

Though we may touch all the time, turning this common sensation into a strategy for healing takes expert guidance.

Barbara Goldschmidt has taught hundreds of people how to use skilled touch as a valuable tool. She has worked with health care center staff—including nurses, nursing assistants, food providers and janitorial staff—to bring aware touch into their lives, the lives of their patients, and to the care community at large. She has taught advanced classes for massage therapists and college nursing programs, as well as private courses for the New York City Alzheimer’s Association and SEIU 1199. She has also taught many community workshops for parents and other family caregivers.

In a comforting touch workshop, Barbara introduces participants to the benefits of touch, explains how to enhance sensitivity, and demonstrates a unique approach to massage created especially for caregivers.

  • Touch focuses on the arm and hand, areas that are simple to use and well accepted by givers and receivers.

  • Participants learn that touch is both a set of techniques (the “outer” medicine) as well as a focused practice (the “inner” medicine or essence).

  • A structured sequence of steps, combining Western massage with energy points from classical acupuncture, can be used for up to 30 minutes.

  • Best practices are discussed and development of a caregiver team encouraged.



Barbara Goldschmidt is an author, educator and licensed massage therapist (New York State). She has been active in the field of integrative health care for 30 years. Her passion is to educate people to the power of touch accessible to everyone. Barbara's interest in working with people with dementia began in 1996, when she was the lead massage therapist in a study at Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, NY. In 2011 she taught hand massage as an alternative intervention for pain to staff at several nursing homes in New York City through a grant implemented by the Education Fund of 1199 SEIU. She also has taught workshops for family care and self-care through the seasons.

She has a degree from UCLA, a diploma in massage therapy from Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in New York City, and has studied extensively with Catherine Shainberg (School of Images, New York, NY), Jeffrey C. Yuen, (Classical Chinese Medicine, New York, NY), and Jack Gray (transfer of energy healing, Los Angeles, CA).