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Oncology - Cancer Massage


Fortunately myths about massage spreading cancer are being dispelled and massage treatment is now widely recognized as beneficial complementary therapy that can be used alongside, not instead of, conventional or mainstream approaches such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or drug therapy.

Complementary therapies aim to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease and whilst massage doesn’t treat the cancer itself, it may help considerably in reducing the side effects caused by conventional treatments to bring both mental and physical relief and make living with cancer more comfortable.

“Some people worry that having a massage when you have cancer may make the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body. But no research has proved this to be true”.

(Source, Cancer Research UK).

How does Oncology Massage differ from  ‘general’ massage? 

Oncology Massage should be delivered by therapists who have undertaken extensive training, and have relevant insurance, to ensure they have knowledge about cancers, their diverse treatments and be able to adapt massage to the individual’s specific needs. A vital part of Oncology specific training is properly understanding infection control measures as active cancer treatment will result in suppressed immune responses. Oncology Massage is suitable for individuals currently receiving cancer treatment as well as for those in recovery or survivorship.

If you have had massage before you may notice that Oncology Massage is a lighter touch and very soothing in comparison. Therapists will take particular care to account for surgery, lymph node removal, scar tissue formation, radiotherapy and chemotherapy related symptoms, in addition to recognizing the emotional toll a cancer diagnosis may bring.

Light touch doesn’t mean it is less effective though! Trained Oncology therapists understand the delicate nature of many treatments, and are familiar with working around medical devices, operations or side effects.

“Deep bodywork is like shouting at the body. Comfort-orientated bodywork is like whispering”.

(Source, Medicine Hands by Gayle MacDonald, 2004).

How can Oncology Massage help you?

Fatigue can be a huge factor for many individuals going through cancer treatment. Medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be both physically and emotionally tiring. The effects of cancer treatments can cause hair-loss, alongside other appearance changes which can cause anxiety and discomfort. Oncology Massage aims to relax tired muscles, ease joint pain and with the gentle use of lotions, can be very beneficial for dry and damaged skin.

Nurturing touch can be a powerful tool to release tension and stress and promote feelings of comfort and wellbeing. Massage is already known for its psychological and emotional benefits by improving serotonin levels, which promotes deep relaxation and decreases cortisol levels.

If you have had surgery as part of your cancer treatment it is also worthwhile considering ScarWork™ treatment. This is suitable for anyone who has undergone surgery regardless of the cancer treatment stage, and whether it be active or many years in remission.

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