Multiple published studies conducted by institutes such as Memorial-Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City, now link gentle, non-invasive massage for people affected by cancer with significant reductions in the relief of pain, peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, nausea, depression and anxiety.
The frequency of such reports validates that what massage therapists and their clients affected by cancer have been observing for years is increasing. Contrasting 1900 to 1990, when there were only an average of 31 citations per year in any scientific literature referring to cancer and massage or oncology and massage, to the 1,370 citations reported per year between 2006 and 2008, it is obvious that more therapists and patients are realizing that massage therapy is far more than a relaxing, pleasurable experience.
Specifically, oncology massage is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. Essential aspects of an oncology massage therapist's skill set are an informed understanding of the disease itself and the many ways it can affect the human body; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.
Individuals should expect to discuss their cancer treatment history, tumor site or metastasis, compromised blood cell counts, lymph node involvement, blood clots or blood clot risk, medications, fragile or unstable tissue, vital organ involvement, changes in sensation or others pertinent issues with a properly trained oncology massage therapist.
Local Resources: Christina M. Mitchell, 822 Anchor Rode Dr., Naples, 239-293-0960. [email protected], BestBodyMassage.com. Kathy Hall, Hidden Wholeness, 407-538-3044, [email protected], HiddenWholeness.com.