There are a few misconceptions about cancer massage (massage for cancer patients) - also known as Oncology Massage. The main misconception is that massage can cause the cancer to spread. This is simply not true.
Some people believe that massaging a person with cancer could be harmful. A common fear is that massage will cause the cancer to spread by means of the lympathic system.
It is a fact that cancer can spread via the lympth system. However, cancer spreads via changes to the cells' DNA and other processes, NOT via movement or other mechanical means.
Comfort-oriented massage can safely be given to people at any stage of their cancer. We need to get away from the idea that massage is only about working on tight muscles, detoxifying or assisting with recovery from injury. There will always be some form of massage (with the right modifications) that can be given to a cancer patient. Patients receive massage during chemotherapy sessions, or before or after radiation therapy.
Indeed, rather than being harmful, cancer massage offers many benefits for the patient.
Massage can help diminish the side effects of conventional cancer treatments, and improve quality of life. Scientific research shows that massage can reduce:
A nurturing massage can help the person feel whole again, re-establish a positive body image, and rebuild hope. A nurturing massage can be given by family or friends as well as by a professional therapist.
Health professionals in Australia are just now beginning to understand the important benefits that cancer massage offers. Major cancer centres in the USA and UK already provide massage as one of their services for cancer patients.
If you would like to learn more about massage and cancer, The Cancer Council has published a comprehensive information sheet, about the benefits of touch for people with cancer.
Massage for cancer workshop
Learn how to give some one with cancer a nurturing massage of the hands, feet and head at this free workshop.
This free workshop is run as a community service in conjunction with the Cancer Council community Hub at Rouse Hill.