When you are going through a course of cancer treatment, many people find that their stress and anxiety levels can go up exponentially.
You may be experiencing some or all of these things:
- Physical symptoms such as back pain, tight shoulders, or headaches that feel connected to your stress
- Emotional symptoms such as depression, feeling on edge, or worrying about what comes next
- A feeling that doctor’s appointments, treatments, & cancer have taken over your calendar
When anxiety is affecting you physically
Whether you have received massage therapy in the past, or you’re new to massage, I would love to help you. Therapeutic massage can be one way to ease your anxiety, stress, and tense emotions that manifest in your body as side effects of going through cancer.
When you come in for a session, some clients have said that it feels like a respite, a “vacation from cancer.” You can look forward to a calm, peaceful environment where you can rest, relax with music, and get some help with whatever muscle tension you have.
Massage therapy and cancer
Frequently people will ask, “What’s the difference between regular massage and oncology massage?” And one of the main differences is this: we will talk about your cancer treatment, and how it is specifically affecting you. I can make adjustments to ensure that you feel better after your massage session, and not worse.
Even if you’ve finished active treatment, it’s a good idea to let your massage therapist know about your diagnosis. We’ll talk about ways to modify your massage so that it’s the best it can be for you. For example, if you’ve had any lymph nodes removed or treated with radiation, that is important to tell me.
As a member of the Society for Oncology Massage, I’ve taken some great continuing-education classes about how to provide a safe massage for someone who is experiencing cancer treatment (or who has a history of cancer).
20 years ago, when I was in massage school, we were taught that you couldn’t work with cancer patients at all. Some thought that massage would spread the cancer. But — thankfully — we are learning more & more that this belief was not justified by scientific evidence.
There’s a growing body of research that supports massage and other complementary therapies as a way to help ease anxiety and stress – including the anxiety that’s frequently experienced by someone with cancer!
What you can expect
Some of the ways that I will tailor your massage to reassure you if you’re going through stress and feeling anxious:
- You can ask any questions that you have; before, during, or after your appointment. I’ve worked with many clients over the years who had not had a massage before. No need to be embarrassed if you don’t know what to expect! I’m glad to help you feel welcome.
- I want you to feel heard, understood, and empathized with. This massage session is about you and what your needs are, but I can relate to some of your experience on a personal level. I have gone through cancer too, and you can ask me about that if it would help you at all.
- When a client comes in, I do my best to provide a calm, peaceful therapeutic atmosphere and a supportive presence. I’m not chatty by nature – if talking helps you to settle in and relax, you certainly can do so – but you don’t have to worry about keeping up a conversation during your massage.
- Again, please feel welcome at all times to ask any questions you have about massage and cancer and the ways it is affecting you. And please let me know in the moment if changing something would help you feel better and more relaxed.
- The speed of your massage, the pressure, what areas of your body we focus on, the direction of massage strokes, accommodations for any medical devices you have – these are all examples of some of the factors I’ll take into consideration to help you the most.
Quiet Strength is a supportive environment for you
Be assured that even while going through a cancer diagnosis, you can still get a massage and feel benefits from it. You’ll be best served by a therapist who has taken oncology training, so that they’re prepared to know what adjustments are appropriate for you.
By all means, I want you to have a positive experience when you come to my office. I certainly don’t know everything, but I want my clients to feel confident about working together. It’s a privilege to assist you in reducing your anxiety & stress from cancer.
If you have any questions about oncology massage, or would like to book an appointment, please contact me today!