Massage and Cancer – What You Need to Know

Cancer tilesAs far as terrible diseases go, cancer is up pretty high on the list. Even the treatment can be miserable with a wide range of side effects. We all know too many people who suffer from it, therefore we all suffer with it on some level. To go with all the other bad things, there is an all too common misconception that if you have cancer you can’t get a massage. This is not true!  In fact it is something that can help ease the suffering that goes along with treatment. However what is true is, if you have cancer or have had cancer you should see a massage therapist that has training in oncology massage.

Why is it important to see an oncology massage therapist? There are a number of reasons, most of which revolve around the fact that massage should never make someone worse. Because cancer and its treatment are so hard on the body when you add in massage it’s easy to overtax the body. Therefore massage therapists need to change the pressure, type and direction of strokes or avoid areas of the body completely to make sure the massage is safe and effective.

Oncology massage varies from your average massage in a few different ways depending on the type, severity, and treatment. It tends to be a relaxing massage that focuses on people’s comfort and calming the nervous system. This can be beneficial in dealing with the side effects of treatment, and helping the body get some much needed rest.

The massage therapist is going to need to know some things before working with someone who has cancer. Here are few questions they will probably ask –

  • What type of cancer is it/where are there tumors?
  • What treatments have you undergone/how recently?
  • Have you had surgery/how recently?
  • Have you had any lymph nodes removed or radiated?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Is there any bone involvement?
  • Any major organ involvement?

cancer ribbonThe answers to these questions will tell your massage therapist what type of massage can safely be given. No matter what the answers it provides caring contact and a little relief from the from the misery that cancer and cancer treatment can cause.

Do you know someone with cancer? Are they fatigued, brain foggy, in pain or just in need of physical contact that doesn’t hurt? No matter where someone is in their journey, oncology massage can provide some much needed comfort and relief. Encourage them to schedule an appointment with an oncology trained massage therapist.