What is Oncology Massage?
Oncology massage is a collection of techniques tailored to the needs of persons living with cancer. Anyone who has ever received cancer treatment, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist who has received training in oncology massage.
As a CLT (Certified Lymphedema Therapist) I have received such training. This training includes special focus in all stages of the disease as well as the various precautions including those for radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.
What are the Benefits of Oncology Massage?
As well as improving physical symptoms, many people with cancer say that having a customized massage makes them feel whole again, helps them to relax, helps them share feelings in an informal setting, makes them feel more positive about their body and rebuilds hope.
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 pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression.
Assessing a Personalized Oncology Massage Plan
Clinical assessments and adaptations to the oncology massage session for someone experiencing cancer or with a history of cancer treatment are critical to providing a safe massage. It is essential that the oncology massage therapist’s skill set include a comprehensive understanding of the disease itself and the many ways it can affect the human body; the side effects of cancer treatments, and the ability to customize the massage for the benefit of the client’s needs. As a properly trained oncology massage therapist, I will ask pertinent questions that are essential to the safe and beneficial support of your well being:
– cancer treatment history
– lymph node involvement
– blood clots or blood clot risk
– medications (short and long term)
– tumor site or metastasis
– medical devices
– fatigue, neuropathy, or pain
– changes in sensation
– late effects of treatment
– compromised blood cell counts
– vital organ involvement
– fragile or unstable tissue
Research shows that massage of muscle and soft tissue does not spread cancer cells. Light, relaxing massage can safely be given to people at all stages of cancer. Individuals who have had massages during cancer treatments have reported a range of positive outcomes such as improvements in sleep, the health of the scar tissue, quality of life, mental clarity and alertness, range of movement and more.
As a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, I would be honored to be an integral part of your journey to healing and continued positive well-being.