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Massage For Cancer Patients

How Does Massage For Cancer Patients Help?

To massage means to rub or knead various muscles of the body with the hands, accessory or mechanical device. This type of touching therapy helps with relieving aches and pains, joint stiffness, promote healing, for wellbeing or for the client that simply needs some time-out to de-stress and unwind mentally and physically.

There are many different kinds of massage. Each style may use a different movement or technique. Accessories such as hot stones, hand-held rollers, dry brushes and electrical hand held devices can be used to achieve different results.

There are also varying levels of massage; aromatherapy massage for cancer patients is commonly used for relaxation and uses a light to medium pressure by the therapist. More specialised treatments such as deep tissue and sports injury massage are used to target problem muscles such as in the neck and shoulders where we can store tension causing muscles to spasm and become painful.

Contraindications & Precautions for Cancer Patients

According to the Cancer Council in Australia, it is well documented that massage does not contribute to the spread of cancer. Malignant melanoma may metastasise (spread) into the lymphatic system (a part of the immune system) via the lymph nodes. Lymphatic fluid flows naturally through the lymphatic system when muscles contract and compress lymph vessels. This does not cause cancer to spread.

This myth of cancer spreading if massaged has been dispelled due to much research. In fact, it is now regarded as a significant benefit to those suffering from any kind of cancer.

A scientific study, conducted over four years at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, concluded that massage for cancer patients had a "statistically relevant impact on pain and anxiety levels".

Why use massage for skin cancer patients?

If you have, or have had skin cancer, massage therapy can be a wonderful hour away from the reality of your condition. Indeed, for any type of cancer, massage will help you to relax, allowing your muscles to unknot.

Being diagnosed with cancer has to be one of the most traumatic moments of a person's life. Accepting this diagnosis, then dealing with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy is extremely stressful on the mind and body. Combine this with lack of sleep, worry, anger and fear and your body may respond with tense muscles, sore joints, aches and general malaise.

Common areas for people to experience pain due to stress is between the shoulder blades and up into the base of the skull. The trapezius muscle in your back is full of trigger points for muscle knots. A muscle knot is a very small area of muscle that spasms. This spasm traps fluid that is made up of waste chemicals from the muscle's metabolism. The longer the trapped fluid is left within the knot, the more rancid it becomes causing inflammation and pain. The only way this muscle spasm can relax and drain is by manual manipulation. A therapist, partner or friend can help to massage the area.


I am an absolute fan of massage, especially massage for cancer patients. If you suffer from skin cancer, massage therapy can help reduce pain, stress, anxiety and aid in the recovery process. A body that is under immense pressure, both emotionally and physically will respond to treatment more positively if it is looked after well.

If you seek treatment from a professional massage therapist, it is important that they are suitably qualified to treat a cancer patient. Some countrie's qualifications and training differ, however, they should have trained in oncology massage and understand that there are certain procedures they absolutely must NOT do, eg, never massage a tumour or skin lesion or an area that has been treated with radiotherapy. If you are unsure if your therapist is qualified, make sure you ask them.

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