There is no easy way around it, cancer is an incredible difficult subject fraught with anxiety and fear. The pain of fighting against bodily destruction along with the emotional journey involved can be debilitating and overwhelming. Today, more research is coming to light that massage therapy may be a positive tool to help counter pain, alleviate anxieties, and reduce stress levels for patients with cancer.
As an ancient technique used to stimulate the muscles and tissues, massage is a non-pharmacological approach to caring for the body. When applied to cancer patients, massage should be considered a form of complementary therapy that can help address side effects of the conventional treatments doctors use such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other drug therapies and surgeries.
How Massage Helps
With symptoms such as fatigue, pain, nausea, and depression, massage can help patients manage and cope with the struggles that the illness can bring. From helping to establish more positive feelings, rebuilding hope, enabling patients to engage in a more informal therapy setting and giving attention to the whole person instead of just the disease, the art of massage can provide a safe environment to release, let go, and feel good.
Although a general rule of thumb is to check in with your medical doctor before adding any supplementary treatments, massage is typically safe for patients suffering from cancer in any stage. Treatment sites and tumor locations should be avoided for application of pressure if massage causes any discomfort.
Types of Massage
This is a type of massage that utilizes reflex areas, specifically on the hands and feet, to help promote bodily adjustments for the body’s nervous system and connective energy meridians.
As a gentle and calming type of massage, Swedish massage is the best modality to relax the entire body. By using long strokes, light pressure, and kneading, Swedish massage can help bring relaxation, rejuvenation, and reinvigoration.
Cranial Sacral Massage
This massage type addresses the bones of the head, spinal column, and sacrum in order to release compression and reduce pain and stress in the body.
Whatever type of massage selected, it’s important for cancer patients to be able to communicate their individual wants and needs. At Elements Littleton, our therapists are professionally trained to listen, respond to, and deliver a truly unique experience on the massage table.