Massage Therapy

Can You Have a Massage If You’re Having Cancer Treatment?

Can you Have a Massage if You’re Having Cancer Treatment?

The simple answer is YES!

Don’t be afraid of treating yourself, or someone you know, to a massage while going through cancer treatments. There’s no reason why anyone who has cancer should avoid massage, in fact it can be an incredibly life-affirming treatment that should boost well-being and help with the stress of grueling treatments.

Having a massage while having medical treatment for cancer can really put you back in touch with your body again. It can feel almost alien while you’re being examined and prodded by medical experts, given harsh chemical cocktails and treatments that make you feel bad, and having test after test. The simple pleasures of touch and massage can help reconnect you with your body, making you feel more human and ‘normal’ at a difficult time. If you want to talk about how you’re feeling with your therapist, it’s safe place to chat, and share your thoughts and fears in a safe space.

You should feel relaxed after a massage session; your therapist will listen to you and adapt techniques to your needs. It can be nice just to feel listened to when you’ve been seemingly at the mercy of the medical profession for a while.

It doesn’t just feel nice; clinical studies have shown that massage can reduce symptoms such as stress, nausea, pain, fatigue and depression, all too common when you’re dealing with a serious illness.

Don’t worry – research shows that massaging muscle and soft tissue doesn’t spread cancer cells – that’s a myth.

A relaxing massage is perfectly safe for people at all stages of treatment, although the massage therapist will be careful to avoid any treatment or tumor sites while massaging you, to prevent any discomfort.

The myth that massage can spread cancer came about because some people believe that the cancer affected cells can be moved around the body via the lymphatic system. This isn’t true; circulation of lymphatic fluid actually happens naturally as we move, and it can’t cause cancer to spread.

Cancer develops and spreads because of changes to a cell’s DNA, not through cells being circulated around the body. There’s nothing to worry about!

Scientific studies have shown that massage may reduce:

  • pain
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • anxiety and depression

in people having treatments like chemotherapy and surgery.

What are the health benefits of massage for cancer patients?

People who’ve had massage therapy sessions during their treatment say that they’ve noticed a wide range of positive effects afterwards. These include:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved healing of scar tissue
  • A better quality of life
  • More mental clarity
  • Better range of movement.

A large American study from 2004 [1] looked at the effects of massage therapy on almost 1300 people with cancer over three years. The study found that massage therapy reduced pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression, and the longer the massage sessions, the more relief people reported.

Another smaller study [2] looked at how safe and effective massage was in reducing stress hormones in people who had blood cancer. People were given aromatherapy, massage or rest; massage significantly reduced amounts of stress hormones in the people who took part in the study.

So, if you, or someone you know, is dealing with cancer, or has just been through treatment and needs a pick-me-up, choose massage.

References

1 Fellowes D, Barnes K, Wilkinson SSM. Aromatherapy and massage for symptoms relief in patients with cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Iss 4.

2 Stringer J et al. Massage in patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy reduces serum cortisol and prolactin. Psycho-Oncology 2008 Oct; 17 (10): 1024–31.

Massage, Why You Can’t Afford NOT To Get One

It’s a myth that you can’t afford massage – the truth is that if you want to stay happy, healthy and full of vitality for longer, you can’t afford NOT to fit regular  therapy sessions into your schedule.

Massage might have a reputation for being something that’s a treat, a fluffy afternoon in a spa with aromatherapy candles and whale music, but that’s not what it’s all about. Sessions are healing, reviving, relaxing and in fact can save you a whole lot more money than it costs you.

Massage therapy has been proven to treat the symptoms of conditions as diverse as depression, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and MS. This is according to the Touch Research Institute, who has carried out over 100 separate studies into massage and its many benefits.

Even if you’re not managing a particular health condition, you still need this important therapy in your life. It can help you if you’re an athlete, or just enjoy a workout. It can help keep your joints and muscles supple so that you’re less prone to injury. It’s great for dealing with stress, even if you’re not actually depressed, and improve immunity and sleep, making you more present and productive at work.

How expensive is massage, really?

According to recent figures, the average session costs about $50 for 45 minutes*. That’s about the same as tank of gas and an oil change, erring on the cheaper side. The average price for a trip to the doctor, spending approximately 10 minutes with a doctor – is $68** (without insurance). Although most insurance companies aren’t enlightened enough to cover massage, there’s no arguing that it DOES play a bit part in injury and disease prevention. Experts know that a regular massage session will help to keep your body healthy.

Worst case scenario?

What’s the worst that can happen if you neglect your routine? Plenty of people struggle through with sore backs, a bit of repetitive strain, or hurt themselves while running, what’s the big deal?

Did you know that back injuries are the second most common reason for worker’s compensation claims? That’s everything from muscle spasms, problems with discs, and injuries leading to disability. Thirty-one million Americans are thought to experience low-back pain at any given time.

Most of these injuries could be prevented with better posture, rest and massage. So many back problems can be directly attributed to over-use and fatigue, and most problems are mechanical that is, not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.

On average, managing back pain costs Americans over $50 BILLION a year.
Still think you can’t afford that massage?

References

* http://health.costhelper.com/massage.html

** https://www.debt.org/medical/doctor-visit-costs/