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Ask a Therapist: What should I know about massage therapy after a cancer diagnosis?

heather Aug 3, 2013

Massage Therapy is a great support for those who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as support through the treatments.  Many massage therapists take courses specifically devoted to cancer patients and how to fully address their specific needs.  If you have cancer your massage therapist will need to know so that they can make you comfortable and modify their massage so they do not injure, or hurt you.

 

Massage has several benefits for cancer patients.  Massage reduces anxiety and I am certain that even those who have never experienced the trauma of the diagnosis can understand that cancer comes with a lot of anxiety.  Massage helps to alleviate unnecessary anxiety and allows the client to focus on the here and now, and the healing needing to be done.  A more gentle massage also helps ease the pain and nausea that comes from not just the cancer, but the treatment.  Anyone who has had a massage knows that it helps with sleep.  Cancer patients need that restful sleep to help heal.

Oncology Massage requires special training, though there is no national certification for it yet.  So if you are looking for a Massage Therapist who can help you during this turbulent time, be sure to ask if they have received any extra training for Oncology Massage.  The more knowledge they have about the disease, the more they can modify the massage to achieve maximum results!

Even if the cancer is in remission, if you have had lymph nodes removed let your Massage Therapist know, it might change how they address certain areas.  As with all massage, communication is key!

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