oncology massage
Massage for the client recovering from or undergoing treatment for cancer
For many years massage therapists and clients alike have been cautioned that a person with Cancer should not receive massage. The thinking was that the massage could stimulate circulation of blood and lymph thereby spreading the Cancer throughout the body, or that massaging a tumour could cause 'pieces' to break off thus spreading the Cancer to other areas of the body.  Research has now proven that this is not the case, and that massage can safely be given to a client by a trained Oncology Massage Therapist with great benefit to the client.

Massage is entirely safe and may be hugely beneficial to those with Cancer; before during and after treatments, and is modified to suit each and every person. A range of techniques can be used to ensure the comfort and safety of the client and the treatments are based on the premise of ‘inching forward’. This means that we take small steps to ensure that the client is comfortable on any given day, and build up length of treatment and pressure over time.  Especially in the first year after treatment the body needs its resources to heal itself.  Massage that is too deep or exercise that is too fatiguing is the last thing a recovering body needs!

Surgery, Radiation and Chemotherapy will all leave the body feeling depleted of energy and may cause varying degrees of damage to the body including lowered blood counts, digestive issues, compromised immune function, reduced organ vitality and extreme fatigue to name a few.  The removal or radiation of lymph nodes also requires special care to be taken with pressure and direction of massage to ensure the safety of the client.

Potential Benefits of Massage Include:

Reduction in stress/anxiety/depression
Provides distraction
Encourages deeper respiration
Reduction in pain and fatigue
Relief from nausea
Abdominal massage beneficial for bowel blockages
Increases elasticity to surgical scarring
Improves sleep
Relieves muscle tension and increases range of motion
Assists in re-establishing a positive body image
Improves quality of life

The actual treatment received will depend largely upon the treatments undergone including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and also on levels of fatigue, pain and nausea on any given day. There are however safe ‘touch therapies’ that can be given to ALL Cancer patients, ANY day.

Treatments incorporate massage techniques that will promote deep relaxation; they may include scar work and release of tightness and discomfort after surgery, as well as a gentler form of treatment that the client enjoys clothed and is deeply relaxing and beneficial for overall stress and anxiety reduction. It is also thought to improve and support bone marrow production, although there is no conclusive evidence as yet. Nonetheless it is an amazing treatment to experience and the benefits become obvious once experienced. It has been commented that it feels like there are more than two hands at work!!

Lots of things work in practice for which the laboratory has never found proof.

--Martin H. Fischer

If the client has medical devices in place we will take them into account through positioning and avoidance of areas that are compromised. Oncology Massage may be referred to as ‘mindful massage’ meaning that at all times the therapist is connected to the individual and 100% present for them.

Even in a palliative situation massage is hugely beneficial allowing the client time and space for stress free, deep relaxation and relief from touch deprivation.

If you have any questions about Oncology Massage please don’t hesitate to call or email me. You may visit the studio in Rye for your treatments or I provide a peninsula wide mobile service for those who are unable to get out.

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