Massage Has Many Functions For 

The Cancer Patient

Although rumor abounds about massage, there is NO scientific study that demonstrates that massage should be completely avoided in cancer patients.

Knowledable practitioners and doctors do agree that the area of the tumor should be avoided. No pressure should ever be placed on the tumor. It is advised that massage therapists avoid using deep techniques.

Nursing literature does support the use of gentle massage. Obviously there are benefits. Among them is simple relaxation and pain reduction.

It is believed that patients can gain a feeling of control and their attitude and body image can benefit too.

Since research has shown that premature infants gain 47% more weight if massaged at least 15 minutes at a time, several times a day, it does not seem too big a leap of faith to see immune system benefits in massage.

"Indeed the National Cancer Institute endorses the use of massage, pressure and vibration for musculoskeletal pain during all phases of treatment." (Touching Cancer Patients, Guidelines for Massage Therapists by Donna Williams, an article in Massage magazine March/April 2000).

According to Ms. Williams, hospitals that offer massage therapy report "that patients who are touched experience a greater sense of relaxation and less insomnia, nausea, anxiety, depression, pain and need for medication."

She suggests that hot and cold therapy NOT be used on the treament area of those undergoing radiation-since the area may be hypersensitive.

A gentle massage of head, neck, shoulders, back and feet is recommended in the nursing literature for relaxation and the reduction of pain.

Some hospitals offer massage therapy as a part of their standard of care.

Massage Therapy studies/surveys


Massage Therapy for Chronic Pain
Massage Benefits Hospitalized CA Patients
Massage therapy & opioids to relieve postoperative pain
Chair massage for patients and carers
Massage Therapy versus Simple Touch
Meaningful Relief: Experiences of Massage

Cancer Nursing, 8/01

Healing Touch Feels Better
White Bld/Neutrophils Rise w/Massage

J Bodywork & Movement Therapies, October, 2001

Outcomes Therapeutic Massage:Hospitalized Pts

J Nurs Scholarsh, 12/02

Research: Benefits of Massage for Bca Pts
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training

Psycho-Oncology, 4-5/03

Tracy Walton: Massage Therapy and training for therapists

LINK to Cambridge, MA-based massage therapist, teacher, trainer

Cancer Treatment Programs Offering Massage (12/03)

Source: Probably greatly increased by now, 10/05

The Bowen Technique (Massage) Bowenwork

Thermal Stones UK

LINK to supplier of "original Basalt Massage Stones as well as other stones - such as Chakra stones, cold stones, spa heaters & a full range of accessories".

Ama's Community Service Oncology Massage Clinic

LINK to SF- Bay area clinic (415) 218-1477

An Oncology Massage Professional on Risk of Lymphedema

Article by Toni Muirhead

Partners in Healing

LINK: site provides practical tools, encouragement and inspiration to those wanting to be a source of healing for a loved one.

2nd Annual Oncology Massage Summit

April 2010

Massage Insurance

LINK: "Massage Liability Insurance Group (MLIG) provides Massage Therapist, Massage Therapy Students, & Massage Therapy Schools with Massage Liability Insurance, through various Massage Therapy insurance plans, Massage Marketing Materials, Massage Business Support, Massage News, & Massage Articles".

Remember we are NOT Doctors and have NO medical training.

This site is like an Encyclopedia - there are many pages, many links on many topics.

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