Massage Therapy for Oncology Support

Oncology massage is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with individuals that are undergoing treatments due to a cancer diagnosis or have completed treatment and are in remission. Individuals who have received treatment, those in active treatment to those in recovery or a survivor, as well as those at may be at end of life, are best served by a Massage Therapist that has had specific training in working with individuals with cancer.

Essential aspects of an oncology massage therapist’s skill set are an informed understanding of the disease and the many ways it can affect the human body; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.

Why Massage Therapy for Oncology Support?
Massage therapy has been proven to help individuals that are going through or have gone through cancer treatments. It has been proven to help individuals manage some of the top symptoms of cancer treatment both in an acute state or chronic side effects. There are evidence based studies that state it has been proven to alleviate pain, fatigue, nausea, depression and improve sleep/insomnia.

Is massage safe for people with cancer?
Light, relaxing massage can safely be given to people at all stages of cancer. Tumour or treatment sites should not be massaged directly to avoid discomfort or pressure on the affected area and underlying organs.
Some people worry that massage can spread cancer cells throughout the body via the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, organs and nodes through which lymphatic fluid flows. It is part of the body’s immune system. Lymphatic circulation occurs naturally as we move. Cancer may spread (metastasise) into the lymphatic system via the lymph nodes, or it may start in the lymphatic system itself. However, the circulation of lymph – from massage or other movement – does not cause cancer to spread. Researchers have shown that cancer develops and spreads because of changes to a cell’s DNA (genetic mutations) and other processes in the body.

What are the benefits of oncology massage?
Scientific studies have looked at the effects of various body-based practices on people having cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery. These studies have shown that massage may reduce some of the top symptoms of treatment and recovery such as pain, fatigue, nausea and anxiety and depression.
Individuals who have had massages during cancer treatments have reported a range of positive outcomes such as improvements in sleep, tissue health, quality of live, mental clarity, and ROM. Outcomes may vary between clients.