Mjuk massage och diakoni : Ett holistiskt perspektiv

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Karlstads universitet/Fakulteten för samhälls- och livsvetenskaper



Tactile Massage is a generic term that for example includes Massage therapy, Effleurage, Gentle touch, Tactile stimulation, Soft massage and Aromatherapy massage (SBU 2009). Tactile Massage has been proven to activate the perception receptors of the body and stimulates the system of oxytocin and in that way Tactile massage increase wellbeing and decrease pain. The Church of Sweden was formally separated from the state in the year of 2000 and by this means created greater freedom in facilitating its own social and Deaconal programs in separate parishes. Since 2004 a few numbers of deacons have been integrating Tactile massage as a method in Deaconal  ministry within the framework of holistic care in the Church of Sweden.

Aim/Research questions

The aim: From a holistic perspective investigate the use of and to increase the problem-awareness of Tactile massage in the Deaconal ministry within the Church of Sweden.

The research questions: How is Tactile massage being used and how are we to describe the experiences of Tactile massage in the Deaconal ministry? What possibilities and difficulties are related to the use of Tactile massage in the Deaconal ministry within the Church of Sweden?


This study is the first explorative research about Tactile massage in Swedish church diaconal context. The study follows Kvales method as seven steps of qualitative interview studies. 1) Aim and research questions were formulated  according to the acquired theory. 2) Three respondents were chosen for in-depth interviews to be able to understand and describe experiences, possibilities and clarify difficulties with the use of Tactile massage within the Church of Sweden. 3) Qualitative interviews were carried out with the help of semi-structured questions. The interviews were recorded and observations were done. 4) The interviews were transcribed and re-read several times. In the process of research the material was coded and interpreted into experiences, possibilities and difficulties. 5) The process of interpretation and analysis of collected data and applied observations were carried out with the help of hermeneutical approach, ten theoretical perspectives and current research. 6) Results. The results were tested according to requirements of reliability, validity and generalization. 7) Report. In this study the results were reported with methodological, ethical and hermeneutical considerations.


Tactile massage was described as an extraordinary tool where the experiences pointed out a general longing for touch in the lived body. The power of touch released courage, relaxation, new energy, pain relief and balance. Spiritual presence was experienced as Gods presence in the bodies of both massage-givers and massage-receivers. Possibilities with Tactile massage were described as practical care, where the non-verbal intervention could support the communication when words did not last. Quiet and relief was created through the freeing of the internal oxytocin-system of the body giving the massage-receiver social confirmation and renewal of the body. Difficulties in using Tactile massage within the deaconry were described as physical and mental vulnerability and unclear professional identity of the massage-givers. Difficulties where related also to integrity, boundaries and limitations of gender due to the majority of the female massage-givers and massage-takers in the present situation. One more difficulty was pointed out as the organizational unsecurity about what Tactile massage is and this difficulty was partly related to views of Deaconry and Church. ‘Deaconal Touch’ is the new concept and  the practical result of this study. Deaconal Touch can be described  as a deaconal tool to be handled in the context of the Church of Sweden.

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