Massage therapy for people living with cancer
Oncology massage is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. Anyone who has ever received cancer treatment, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist who has received training in oncology massage.
Oncology Massage Assessments
Clinical assessments and adaptations to the massage session for someone experiencing cancer or with a history of cancer treatment are critical to providing a safe massage. Standard oncology massage intake questions include those pertaining to:
cancer treatment history
tumor site or metastasis
compromised blood cell counts
lymph node involvement
blood clots or blood clot risk
medications (short and long term)
vital organ involvement
fragile or unstable tissue
fatigue, neuropathy, or pain
changes in sensation
latest effects of treatment
Chrystal Copeland, Licensed massage therapist and owner of Tree of Life Massage is properly trained in Oncology Massage and a member of the society for Oncology Massage. She will ask questions about these issues and more, depending on your unique situation. Many of the changes that will be made to your session will be virtually imperceptible to you as a recipient (and others may be quite obvious), but they are essential to safety and proper support of your well being.
Benefits of Oncology Massage
massage can be an effective compliment to pain medication.
massage can help reduce anxiety, fatigue, depression and stress.
massage can help improve sleep and quality of life.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should talk to your doctor first regarding complimentary therapy for your specific condition or treatment. There may be some instances where your doctor may not want you to receive massage, however most doctors feel that the benefits of improved mood and sleep quality make massage an excellent regime to use during the course of cancer treatment.