October 22, 2013

The Benefits of Oncology Massage

Having completed Oncology Massage: Compassionate Touch for Clients Living with Cancer training, I would love share the following article from MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Oncology massage is an approach to massage therapybased in both compassion and specialized massage treatments to help people manage their experience with cancer. 

Review of the scientific literature indicates oncology massage helps improve quality of life.  Benefits include improved relaxation, sleep, and immune function as well as relieving anxiety, pain, fatigue and nausea. 

Oncology massage therapists are trained to meet people where they are in their experience with cancer and apply a highly individualized massage treatment to comfort, nurture and support them in their process. 

The treatments are modified according to the full spectrum of cancer-related issues: the physical, psycho-social and emotional consequences of cancer.
In addition, the person's individual goals are considered and aspects of the disease and cancer treatment side effects.

Personal goals for receiving oncology massage can include the desire for a respite - a relaxing pleasurable experience in the midst of everything that is going on - relieving nausea or other symptoms such as pain or peripheral neuropathy and helping them get though the remainder of their cancer treatments.
"Getting massage from someone who understands everything that is going on, is part of my healing process", reports Tom, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer almost three years ago and receives massage therapy at theIntegrative Medicine Center.
In the past, therapists thought massage would increase circulation and therefore cause cancer to spread.  
The process of metastasis is very complicated and poorly understood; however increased circulation is not considered a significant part of that process by itself.  
However, it's true that cancer and cancer treatments can put people at risk for complications from massage, so it is important to take some precautions.
Because of the different contraindications for massage in this population, it is very important for the massage therapist who is treating a person with a history of cancer - either currently or in the past - to have specialized training in oncology massage, in addition to being a licensed massage therapist.  
If you or a loved one has or has had cancer, don't hesitate to contact me about receiving a massage. I would be happy to answer questions you may have and find a time to come in for a session. Melissa@mendinghands.com

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