Cancer is a devastating disease that affects not only the body but also the mind and spirit. Massage therapy can be an excellent complementary therapy for those going through treatment and recovery. As a licensed Clinical Massage Therapist based in Guildford, I have been very fortunate to have completed further post-graduate training in cancer-related massage. As such, I have seen first-hand the incredible benefits massage therapy can have for cancer sufferers. It is not uncommon to think that massage is contraindicated with a cancer diagnosis. This is not entirely true, as long as care is appropriately and carefully applied.
Massage therapy involves the manipulation of the soft tissues in the body, including muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can be done with the hands, fingers, elbows, or sometimes, feet. It is a non-invasive therapy that can be used to alleviate pain and discomfort, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall well-being. What is different about massaging a cancer sufferer, is the therapist will need to modify their approach slightly. This could include using different techniques; the positioning of the patient on the table; the duration of the session; the depth of pressure and speed; and the size of the area in which a therapist will work in one session. It will be adapted also depending on how the client feels at the time of the treatment.
In my caseload of cancer patients, I find they often seek massage therapy to help manage pain and other symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. Studies have shown that massage therapy can help lessen nausea, fatigue, and anxiety. Further to this, massage can also improve sleep, which is essential for the body's natural healing process and recovery.
A significant benefit of massage therapy for cancer patients is that it can help reduce the need for pain medication. Many will also suffer with chronic pain, which can be difficult to manage with medication alone. Massage therapy can help diminish pain and inflammation, allowing patients to rely less on medication and reducing the risk of adverse side effects.
Massage can also be used to help with emotional and psychological distress. Undoubtedly, a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly stressful, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression and fear. Massage can help promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, re-establish a more positive body self-image and thus improve overall mood.
It is important to note that massage is not a cure for cancer, and it should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment. However, it can successfully be used alongside traditional treatments to help manage symptoms and improve overall wellness.
I have seen first-hand the incredible impact first-hand that massage therapy can have on cancer patients. If you or a loved one is going through cancer treatment, I encourage you to consider massage therapy as a complementary therapy option to help them on their journey. Please do feel free to give the clinic a call to arrange a free 15-minute chat.