What is Oncology Massage?

Society for Oncology Massage logoOncology Massage is a specialized therapy that I’m grateful to be able to offer. When you’re going through cancer treatment or you have dealt with cancer in the past, you want to go to a therapist who has taken advanced education beyond the basic course of massage school training.

I can create a care plan for you, describing what goals we can set for your massages; how often you may want to get massage therapy; and what modifications we can make to ensure your sessions are as beneficial as possible.

Here are a few things that people frequently want to know about Oncology Massage:

Q: How is oncology massage different from ‘normal’ massage?

That’s a good question. One of the differences is, with oncology massage work, my main focus is on helping my clients with their symptoms and side effects… and some of their symptoms can linger for a long time after treatment. Massage therapy can be so beneficial for pain relief, anxiety, and more.

I make adjustments for the pressure, and some other factors. I’ll ask a few health questions about cancer treatment & side effects, so that the massage can help ease them.

Oncology massage therapists are taught how to modify massages if your vital organs have been affected by the cancer. Also, with OMT training, we learn how to work with our clients that have a risk of lymphedema. We learn precautions to take, so that these clients can still enjoy benefits of massage therapy.

Q: I heard that massage could spread cancer. Is that true?

You know, when I was in massage school in 2001, that is what we were told. A lot of people believed that the actions of massage would increase your circulation, and so they figured that tumors would be spread through your body. We were taught at that time that you could not work with someone who has cancer.

Fortunately, cancer research has since told us that cancer spread is due to many other complex factors. It is not an outcome of increased circulation. This is why many hospitals & treatment centers offer massage therapy to their patients who have cancer.

We definitely make informed adjustments with the massage, and we don’t massage directly over a tumor site, but cancer is no longer considered an absolute contraindication for massages.

Q: How can massage help people with cancer?

I can help my clients in several ways. Massage research suggests that massage can reduce anxiety, help with nausea, deal directly with pain, help with fatigue, and improve a client’s depression. These symptoms are considered “the big 5” with cancer treatment.

And also, I can help my clients to sleep better; sleep is often disrupted when you are in treatment. And another thing is to provide my clients with safe, non-clinical touch. That’s huge when you are in the midst of treatment.

Do you have more questions about Oncology Massage Therapy? Please contact me and I’ll be glad to help.

 

 

 

 

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