Sunday, July 30, 2006


Hello, Sarah again =)

Did you know that people battling with cancer can receive massage therapy?

Skya had posted in a comment that it was time to raise awareness because many cancer patients who could benefit from massage therapy don't know they can even receive it. There are only rare cases where massage is not advisable.

My Aunt Diane has been battling cancer throughout her body for over a decade. She has had several of her lymph nodes removed, and relies on massage to keep her lymphatic system flowing, especially in her left arm, where all of her lymph nodes were removed. Massage can also help in the battle against the effects of illness and treatments: Fatigue, soreness, insomnia, nausea, swelling, and even minor depression. The power of touch alone is so healing, (it's even been medically proven) and for those who constantly find themselves with tubes and syringes, the feel of human contact is soothing, comforting and healing.

And it's good for caretakers as well! Don't forget yourselves!

Here's some fast facts based on FAQs with links to more information:

Note: Before you begin with this or any other treatment, please remember that it is complimentary medicine, meant to enhance its effectiveness and/or your quality of life, not to take the place of your current treatment. Always speak to your oncologist and/or primary care physician before beginning this or any other treatment, and remember, especially in cases like these, to find a massage therapist who is well versed in massage therapy with oncology and who will work closely with your oncologist to keep track of your status. It's just a safety thing =)

Can Massage Spread Cancer?

~No. Absolutely not.
~This myth came about because it was thought that massage would promote metastasis (how cancer spreads from one part of the body to the other) since cancerous cells can travel through blood and lymph channels.
~We now know that regular movement and living promote circulation even more than a massage does
~By releiving some of the energy draining side effects the body has to go through, the body can use the energy it has to fight. If you feel better, you fight better.
~Massage helps enhance the immune system, which is compromised during cancer.
~Massage therapy is used in many top hospitals throughout the US

Note: The tumor itself should never be massaged

Bottom line: The benefits far outweigh the risks

Can treatments interfere with massage or vice versa?

~Radiation therapy may leave burns on the skin, leaving sensitive areas which can not be massaged
~Chemotherapy may decreace platelet counts, which can lead to easy bruising

Bottom line: Choose a massage therapist who is experienced in massage therapy for those battling cancer. They will know about how treatments can interfere with massage and will be able to adapt massage and know if and when it is appropriate to refrain from massage therapy. Make sure that they are in constant contact with moth you and your oncologist, and as with any doctor, if you're anything less than impressed, find a new one!

Links to more info and some sources:

~American Cancer Society This site also has information about other forms of complimentary medicine that jive well with cancer treatment.
~Aurora Health Care
~Tracy Walton
~University of California, San Diego


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