Massage and Cancer
As complement to standard cancer treatments, massage therapy offers both physical and emotional benefits for patients at any stage of cancer care from diagnosis and treatment through recovery. Several studies demonstrate the extensive health benefits of massage including the management of many common symptoms and side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment. Evidence suggests that it may even help boost the immune system. Massage therapy can safely be provided for most patients with cancer. Treatments will be customized for each patient taking into account the type of cancer, areas that have been recently treated with radiation or surgery and other relevant medical conditions. Close communication between the patient, physician and therapist allows for the safe delivery of massage while maximizing therapeutic benefits.
Clients in the process of receiving cancer treatments, during and post, will be accessed and the level of pressure will be adjusted to make sure your body can accept the massage safely and comfortably afterwards. Later during recovery, you can resume your previous deep pressure if safe to do so.
As a therapist, I am responsive to the needs of my clients. I’m always open to a phone call,text or email for feedback either positive or to report other issues.
It is very important that you choose a massage therapist trained in oncology massage; one with strict guidelines that include the appropriate contraindications and precautions needed to offer the safest and most beneficial massage. I have advanced training in oncology massage and provide services through my Advanced Massage Works office.
Many commercial insurance companies will pay for massage therapy services. For details on specific carriers, please contact your insurance specialist.
My heart is in my hands and I would like to extend them to you. For consultations, questions, or to schedule a massage, please contact me.
How can Massage Benefit People who are Living with Cancer?
Massage has many benefits for people living with cancer. A few are listed below. Here are some of the most common physical, emotional and psych-social benefits:
* Reduced stress and anxiety(helpful before and after surgery, or before
and during chemotherapy)
* Improved sleep
* Deep relaxation
* Reduced nausea
* Reduced swelling and fluid retention
* Reduced fatigue
* Increased mental clarity and alertness(helpful for “chemo brain”)
* Improved flexibility and range of motion
* Improved appetite
* Decreased depression
* Improved sense of body self-image
We know some of these from clinical observations, some from controlled research, and some from what clients tell us directly.
Massage Reduces Anxiety
Many clients report being less anxious in general when receiving regular massage. In particular, clients in cancer treatment state that massage eases anxiety before and during uncomfortable procedures and interventions. Research literature reports that massage helps anxiety in patients with cancer and in other populations. In repeated studies of various populations, massage helps reduce depression, as well.
Massage Eases Pain
Recipients of massage therapy express less cancer-related pain, treatment-related pain, and pain related to muscle tension. They claim that massage helps “take the edge off” of acute pain and in some cases relieve it entirely. Although the direction of evidence suggests massage is effective for pain relief, more study is needed to firmly establish the role of massage in pain relief for people with cancer.
Massage Helps Control Nausea
Gentle massage has been shown to reduce nausea in patients receiving autologous bone marrow transplant. In a pilot nursing study, stimulation of acupressure points has been suggested to reduce nausea in patients in chemotherapy. A small study suggested that massage helped decrease medical costs of managing nausea and vomiting. Massage may be a viable, low-cost approach to minimizing this difficult side-effect of medication.
Massage Promotes relaxation
The restorative action of the parasympathetic response, which slows heart rate, dilates blood vessels, and increases intestinal peristalsis and gland activity. Long, slow, undemanding strokes as with Swedish massage initiate these rejuvenating, parasympathetic reactions.