By Virgil Anderson
How Massage Therapists Help Cancer Patients
Massage therapists help their clients in a number of ways from reducing neck or back pain to simply easing stress and helping them feel more relaxed after a long day. For cancer patients, some of the benefits of massage therapy are even more meaningful. People living with all types of cancer, from colon cancer to mesothelioma, can reap the many health and wellness benefits of massage therapy when working with one who specializes in oncology massage?
What is Oncology Massage?
Massage therapists are trained and licensed professionals who manipulate and rub to relieve tension, stress, and pain. An oncology massage therapist has received additional training and is skilled in working with cancer patients. These professionals have learned how to work with the special needs and the limitations of individual cancer patients to help relieve symptoms of the cancer and its treatments, to help relieve stress and anxiety, and to help improve quality of life.
What are the Benefits of Oncology Massage?
The benefits of massage therapy are well known and have been studied, but researchers have also investigated oncology massage and found that there are concrete health benefits for cancer patients receiving specialized massage:
•Massage manages pain. Massage therapy has long been used to relieve pain, especially muscle and joint pain. Research backs this up and studies have found that regular massage sessions can significantly reduce pain in cancer patients. Cancer and the medical strategies used to treat it can cause a lot of pain, and while medications may help they can also cause their own side effects. Massage can help reduce pain and reliance on painkillers.
•Oncology massage mitigates side effects of treatment. Cancer itself causes a lot of unpleasant symptoms, but the treatments can be even worse. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is nausea, which causes vomiting and loss of appetite as well. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce nausea in chemotherapy patients and make the treatment more tolerable.
•Massage helps patients cope with negative feelings. Understandably, cancer patients struggle with a lot of negative feelings, like depression, fear, and stress. Massage therapy is known to help reduce these feelings, and to help cancer patients specifically, to be able to better cope with the feelings as they arise. Massage helps relax patients, calms them, and provides a lasting mood boost.
•Oncology massage provides a better quality of life. With less pain, a better way to cope with depression and stress, and minimized side effects from treatment, cancer patients can be more active, sleep better, and generally enjoy life more. They are able to go out and do things they used to do, including socializing and avoiding becoming isolated. All of the benefits of massage therapy come together to help cancer patients enjoy life even while fighting this terrible illness.
To enjoy the benefits of oncology massage you must work with a trained and experienced professional. Talk to your doctor or oncologist before you try massage because you will have limitations that your therapist will need to be aware of to give you the best treatment. Massage therapy is generally safe, and cancer patients can get all the benefits of this complementary type of care that make life more enjoyable and comfortable.