from Shannon Miller, LMBT
Let's face it, there isn’t anyone you can talk to these days who has not been affected directly, or doesn’t know someone who has been affected, by cancer. A brother, a wife, a co-worker a neighbor, an old friend. Thankfully, over decades, the vision of cancer care has broadened, to not just the eradication of the disease and to keep people alive, but to “live well”.
Consistently, Oncology Massage is reported as a popular complementary modality and clinical research shows that massage can be safe and beneficial for people in, or with a history of, cancer treatment. There are huge benefits to this work, which include reduced stress, temporary reduction of pain, increased energy, decreased nausea and anxiety, improved sleep, improved appetite, increased feelings of well-being, peace, acceptance and remembering Joy.
Oncology Massage therapists have received advanced training and will ask for more medical information and history from their clients, than a typical visit to a spa or private therapy session would require. Although for some, it is a lengthy intake, it ensures the most safe and effective session possible. Oncology Massage Therapists know that each patient has been through a barrage of medical experiences and may just need to distance themselves from that part of their life, while trusting that their particular medical concerns are known and understood. People in cancer treatment work hard to “keep on going”, a massage gives them permission to stop, even if just for an hour.
An Oncology Massage Therapist provides a safe and warm holding space, where deep human compassion and caring are communicated not necessarily with words but through touch. To be touched. To be seen. To be cared for. A cancer survivor of 10 years, will require vastly different massage modifications than someone currently undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatment, and yet another may be receiving massage because medical treatment is no longer an option. But human, compassionate touch and presence are vital and always an option.
The Society for Oncology Massage offers a Therapist Locator to help you find a trained oncology massage therapist who can provide safe, effective massage therapy for people affected by cancer, which includes those in active treatment as well as those with a cancer treatment history.
“Massage Therapy is not contraindicated in cancer patients. Massaging a tumor is, but there is a great deal more to a person than the tumor“ Bernie Siegel, MD