Oncology massage is a specialized form of massage therapy for people with cancer and cancer histories. Careful planning goes into each individual’s massage treatment plan along with the length of the session. Scientific literature has found that oncology massage improves quality of life along with reducing the symptoms of anxiety, pain, fatigue, nausea and depression. A focused and compassionate touch helps to nurture and fully support the individual giving them a sense of comfort during such a challenging time.
The myth of cancer being a contraindication for massage has been explored and findings suggest that there is no evidence that massage therapy can spread cancer. However, avoiding the tumor site and not applying any direct pressure on the affected area is a sensible approach. Certain activities of daily living; walking, showering, and exercising, also make the case for why massage is not a danger to cancer patients. If massage is a risk to cancer patients then the aforementioned activities would also pose a danger to them.
Many factors go into how the oncology massage therapist will approach each session. Bone involvement, metastasis, medications, and vital organ function are a only a few of the many concerns the cancer patient may be undergoing. Radiation, chemotherapy, lymphedema risk and surgery also play a part in modifying the treatment. Below is a list of scientific articles and resources that may answer any questions that you might have about Oncology Massage.
• US National Library of Medicine – Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients: A Reciprocal Relationship Between Body and Mind
• University of Texas: MD Anderson Center – The Benefits of Oncology Massage
• Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals – The Progression of Oncology Massage
• Tracy Walton: Cancer and Massage Therapy – FAQ’s
• MassageTherapy.com – Cancer, Radiation and Massage: The Benefits and Cautions
• Natural Awakenings – Oncology Massage for the Cancer Patient
• Massage Today – Traditional Massage Therapy in The Treatment and Management of Lymphedema