A nurturing massage can help the person feel whole again, re-establish a positive body image, and rebuild hope. While massage doesn’t treat the cancer itself, it does help reduce the side effects caused by conventional treatments.
Benefits of Oncology Massage
Clinical studies have shown that oncology massage can help improve physical symptoms, such as:
- anxiety & depression.
Indeed, rather than being harmful, massage can help patients cope with their treatment experience by:
- help them to relax, improving sleep
- help mental clarity and alertness
- help them share feelings in an informal setting
- improve the health of the scar tissue and range of movement
- make them feel whole again.
What is Oncology (Cancer) Massage? – Sunshine Coast, Qld
Oncology Massage (also known as Cancer Massage) is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with cancer patients and in conjunction with cancer treatments.
Light, relaxing massage can safely be given to people at all stages of cancer. Patients can even safely receive massage during chemotherapy sessions, or directly before or after radiation therapy.
Depending on your unique situation, your therapist will modify each massage session to suit.
Whether you are in active treatment or recently into recovery, the positioning and pressure of your massage may be adjusted for:
- Surgery sites
- Radiation recovery
- Side effects from drug treatments
- Blood cell counts; and
- Bone integrity
Tumour or treatment sites are not massaged to avoid discomfort or pressure on the affected area and underlying organs. If you have any concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Misconceptions about Cancer and Massage
There are a few misconceptions about having a Massage whilst you have cancer. A common fear is that massage can cause the cancer to spread through the lymphatic system.
This is simply not true.
Lymphatic circulation is always occurring naturally as we move and is part of the body’s normal immune system. Cancer may spread (metastasise) into the lymphatic system via the lymph nodes. However, this spread is because of changes to a cell’s DNA and other processes in the body. NOT via movement or other mechanical means.
The Benefits of Touch
Health professionals in Australia are just now beginning to understand the important benefits that oncology massage can offer cancer patients. Major health centres in US, UK and Europe already provide massage as one of their standard services for cancer patients.
Clinical research suggests massage helps cancer patients cope better with aspects of their treatment. A review of eight studies found that massage helps improve cancer patients’ psychological wellbeing, and can help reduce anxiety in the short-term.
A large American study published in 2004 looked at the effects of massage therapy on almost 1300 people with cancer over three years. The study found that overall, massage therapy reduced pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression.