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Massage for Cancer Patients

What is Oncology Massage?

sign to oncology department

Oncology massage is a safe form of massage that is especially tailored to the needs of cancer patients as well as other critically ill people.

Massage is something everybody needs and no one should be excluded if possible – although there are a few contraindications.

Oncology massage therapists like Barbara from ToThePoint Massage are trained to international standards to provide safe massage to cancer patients during all stages of their treatment and cancer journey.

Improve your quality of life through massage

Oncology massage therapy is well suited to be used alongside mainstream medicine to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

It is medically proven that a massage adapted to the needs of persons affected by cancer can relieve some common side effects of their treatment: fatigue, pain, nausea, depression and anxiety. [1]

Besides of these benefits, massage improves sleep, shortens recovery time, stimulates faster wound healing, reduces the need for pain medication, provides distraction and relief from touch deprivation, to name a few. [2]

Therefore, massage therapy is nowadays offered in a steady growing number of hospitals, hospices, cancer resource centres and oncology clinics around the world, as well as in Australia. 


oncology massage trainingTrained by OncologyMassage

The best outcomes are achieved by massage therapists who have had advanced training [3] in learning safe and effective touch techniques.

They have an understanding of the cancer treatment process and the emotional and physical challenges of cancer patients.

Cancer is not a contraindication for massage

It was long believed and also taught at massage schools that massage can spread cancer. The spread of cancer has many reasons that are quite complicated to explain or that are not fully understood yet.

It involves a myriad of different biochemical processes. There is no evidence to suggest that simple mechanical outside pressure during a massage can cause metastasis. [4]

Quite the contrary is true: Massage has so many benefits for cancer patients, and an important addition to their treatment and way back to health.

Discussing your medical history

This does not mean that there are no cautions to be observed when massaging those in or recovering from cancer treatments. By no means.

Therefore we ask you to fill out our special intake form for cancer patients. We want to make sure that your session will be safe and comfortable.

Please communicate your needs before and during the session so that we can make adjustments to pressure, positioning, length of treatment, etc.

When you have your first massage during your time of cancer treatment we will always start with lighter pressure and maybe a shorter session to ensure that the massage will not overburden your body.

If you are a cancer patient and have any concerns whether massage is right for you, you can talk to your doctor or call Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

The Cancer Council offers a booklet called “Massage and Cancer” – A guide for people with cancer, their families and friends. You can also get this free guide at ToThePoint Massage.

If you would like to discuss your concerns with Barbara, please use our contact form.

Cost of a massage treatment

Do you have a private health insurance? You might be able to get a rebate for your massage depending on your individual cover.

You will find more information about the health funds, our prices and therapy packages here.

A gift for cancer patients

We often feel helpless when someone we love is suffering from cancer. We want to comfort them and relieve their suffering. A good way to do this is by giving them a gift voucher for a massage session.

A massage session is a beneficial time for cancer patients to relax, be touched and forget about their illness for some time. This is vital for their health and well-being.

The use of touch is not restricted to massage therapists. You can also learn to touch your loved one in a safe and beneficial way. The American National Cancer Institute helped to develop a program that teaches simple techniques for relaxation and comfort.

You can purchase this program "Touch, Caring & Cancer" as a DVD with a written instruction at ToThePoint Massage in Adelaide. The DVD is multilingual and includes Spanish and Chinese.


Touch, Caring and Cancer DVD - complete program

Additional resources for cancer patients

Help for coping with cancer by Flinders University, Adelaide


Sources:
[1]
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15336336
[2] “Medicine Hands” by G. MacDonald, p. 41
[3] www.oncologymassagetraining.com.au
[4] “Medicine Hands” by G. MacDonald, p. 16-22
Massage benefits for cancer patients:
J Aust Trad Med Soc 2010;16(3):141-143


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