Massage for people with a cancer diagnosis
- Counterbalances the effects of stress
- Relaxes the body, the muscles and nerve fibres which may help to reduce pain
- Releases endorphins to produce an analgesic effect
- Encourages deeper and easier breathing
- Reduces feelings of fatigue by boosting the immune system
- Improves sleep patterns, increasing alertness and mental clarity
- Improves bowel activity
- Calms an overly-busy mind by lowering cortisol levels
- Provides 'time-out' and a positive focus on the body
- Improves joint flexibility, range of motion and improves circulation
- Can reduce the appearance of operation scars
- Can help mood adjustment during recovery and for those in remission
Before Booking Massage
If you are currently receiving medical treatment for cancer, it is important to speak to a member of your primary medical team (ie your oncologist, your GP or your specialist nurse) before you book your first treatment with me. There may be practical considerations they want to discuss with you in relation to massage at various points of medical treatment, so they need to know that you are using complementary therapy. In most instances you will simply be encouraged to proceed, as most doctors consider massage to be an excellent method of managing stress and certain side-effects whilst receiving medical treatment for cancer.
NB: You will be required to sign a legal disclaimer confirming that you have notified your medical team about attending massage before your first treatment commences. If you would like me to communicate with a member of your medical team before your massage appointment in order to better understand any aspect of your medical treatment, I would be happy to do so.
All my new clients talk through a health consultation form with me immediately before their first treatment, as this enables me to be understand any issues which need to be taken in to consideration during massage/reflexology and for them to explain what they hope to gain from their treatment. For people currently undergoing cancer treatment, I will also need to take some details before you come in, and I find a short telephone conversation is usually easiest for that purpose. Once we meet we will go through the regular health consultation form in addition to me having prior knowledge of your cancer treatment.
Oncology Massage FAQs
Is Oncology Massage the same as regular Massage?
Yes and No. Oncology massage is similar to regular massage in that it soothes both the body and the mind and provides time-out from life's stresses; but it is tailored to you individually and is appropriate for your symptoms or any side-effects you experience from your medical treatment eg through body positioning, shortened treatments, an understanding of treatment-specific issues eg skin soreness, etc. We will discuss before we start which parts of your body you prefer to have massaged, it could be the full body, or just the hands & arms, legs & feet, or the shoulders, neck & head, all dependent on how you feel that day and what your situation is at the time. The main physical difference between Oncology massage and other massage techniques is that Oncology massage uses a much lighter pressure, so its effect is extremely calming and applies no additional strain to your body systems.
Can massage spread cancer?
No. There is no evidence that complementary therapies cause cancer to metastasize in any way. Adapted light-touch pressure is used for oncology massage which applies no more stimulation to the body than taking gentle exercise or a hot shower.
Will massage affect my radiotherapy/chemotherapy effectiveness?
No. There is no evidence to suggest massage interferes with chemo/radiotherapy or makes them any less effective. Oncologists are largely in favour of patients receiving massage alongside hospital cancer treatments as it lowers anxiety levels and helps manage some side-effects.
Can I receive massage at any point during my medical cancer treatment?
Massage is suitable for most people during most of their medical cancer treatment, including whilst receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy, for those in recovery and also for those in palliative care. There are however a very small number of exception periods during certain oncology treatments when it is best to delay massage for a few days; this is why it is important for me to remain aware of your medical progress and for your primary care team to be aware that you receive massage.
I wear a wig, should I take it off during massage?
That is entirely up to you. Most clients find that they do feel more relaxed and comfortable without their wig during massage therapy, so you will be invited to remove your wig should you wish to. Your complete privacy is guaranteed and a mirror is provided for putting your wig back on after treatment.
How are you qualified to work with cancer patients?
In addition to my various massage (including anatomy, physiology & pathology) diplomas and my advanced (remedial) massage diploma, I also have specialist qualifications in 'Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care for Massage' and 'Advanced Clinical Massage for Scar Tissue'. A significant number of my regular clientele have had or are receiving oncology treatment.
I have some other questions...
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your questions. Why not email them to me or arrange a time for a phone conversation?