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From Diagnosis to Recovery: What is Oncology Massage & Why You Need It

Updated: Dec 21, 2023


oncology massage

1. What is Oncology Massage?

Going through cancer treatment is a challenging journey, but it doesn't have to be a lonely one. One of the most effective ways to support your recovery is through oncology massage. But what exactly is it? Oncology massage is a specialized form of massage therapy that is designed to meet the unique needs of people living with cancer. It utilizes gentle and safe massage techniques and other modalities such as acupressure, reflexology, and Healing Touch to help reduce stress and anxiety while providing physical relief from side effects like pain, inflammation, fatigue, and nausea. This type of massage therapy requires advanced training not taught in a general massage school. Oncology massage practitioners learn how cancer oncology treatment and bodywork techniques affect the body and why when you combine them together it’s important to adapt certain aspects of a therapy session. Finding an experienced practitioner is key to getting the most out of your treatment sessions. Explore Modern Body’s services including various massage and bodywork therapies here.


2. Benefits of Oncology Massage for People with Cancer

Oncology massage can be a powerful tool in your recovery journey, providing physical relief from side effects like pain, fatigue, and nausea while inducing quality sleep and reducing anxiety. Oncology massage practitioners tailor bodywork sessions to the unique needs of people in treatment for cancer, taking into account the type of cancer, type, and stage of treatment, and any side effects you may be experiencing. Research done in 2023 by the Levine Cancer Institute shared findings on reduced discomfort after an oncology massage for breast cancer patients. Of the 407 study participants, 43% received oncology massage and 57% received Healing Touch therapy. Both groups reported statistically significant reductions in their pain levels.


Another benefit of oncology massage is reduced neuropathy from chemotherapy. Neuropathy is tingling, numbness, and discomfort from damaged nerves. An experiment conducted in 2022 by the MD Anderson Cancer Center found that 88% of participants agreed that their neuropathy improved after massage. The patients that received an oncology massage three times a week had clinically and statistically experienced more relief of neuropathy symptoms versus the group that only received massage therapy two times a week.


3. How to Find an Experienced Practitioner

Now that you know the benefits of oncology massage and how it can help you on your journey to recovery, the next step is finding an experienced practitioner. It's important to do your research and find someone who is specifically trained in oncology massage, as they will have an understanding of the unique needs and challenges that come with cancer treatment. Look for someone who not only has this type of advanced training but has hands-on experience. A good training program will require an internship with hands-on time with patients in chemotherapy, radiation, the medical floor, and sometimes hospice. Don't be afraid to ask to speak to a massage therapist prior to booking your appointment, read reviews from other clients or ask for a referral from your oncologist. Remember, this is your journey to recovery and you deserve the best care possible. By taking the time to find an experienced practitioner, you'll be setting yourself up for the best possible outcome.


4. Tips For Making the Most Out of Your Treatment Sessions

Now that you’ve found an experienced practitioner and are ready to start your oncology massage sessions, it’s important to make the most out of each one. First and foremost, communicate openly with your practitioner about your needs, concerns, side effects, blood counts, and any other changes in your health or treatment plan. You may even want to have a goal for your session such as improving your sleep, reducing nausea, or simply to feel relaxed! Your therapist can then tailor the session to your specific situation ensuring a safe and productive session with maximum benefit. It is important to mention that deep tissue massage during cancer treatment can have adverse effects on the body and is not conducive to the restorative nature of oncology massage. Cancer treatment has a cumulative effect on the body, making healthy tissue more susceptible to injury. Deep or vigorous massage at this time can cause extreme fatigue, bruising and swelling. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for modifications or adjustments during the massage if something doesn’t feel quite right or is uncomfortable. Remember, this is your session and your practitioner is there to support you. By following these tips and fully engaging in your oncology massage sessions, you can empower yourself on the road to recovery and experience the many benefits of this powerful therapy.


5. The Road From Diagnosis to Recovery: Empower Yourself With Oncology Massage!

Oncology massage is a powerful tool that can help empower you on your path to healing. By reducing stress and anxiety, alleviating pain and fatigue, and restoring balance within your body and mind, oncology massage can make a significant difference in your overall well-being. However, it's important to find an experienced practitioner who can provide safe and effective treatment. With a little research and some tips for making the most out of your sessions, you can start feeling better and more empowered today.


Conclusion: If you are going through cancer treatment, oncology massage can be a powerful tool in your recovery journey—it helps reduce stress and anxiety while providing physical relief from side effects like nausea, pain, inflammation and fatigue, all while helping restore balance within your body and mind!



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