Cancer is so much more than a physical condition; it has an emotional impact which is devastating for both the client and their family.

In the past, manual and bodywork therapists have been taught that massage is contraindicated in people with cancer.

It was considered that as some of the benefits of massage is to improving the blood and lymph flow, massage and bodywork may be responsible for spreading of cancer cells from the primary site to other parts of the body.

Research has shown that regular exercise is beneficial to cancer patients, even though we know this increases both blood flow and lymphatic flow, one of the reasons for denying massage to cancer patients in the past.

Cancer was listed as a “red flag” and the consideration of adapting techniques and pressure to provide safe and appropriate treatment to the individuals was not been taken into consideration.

Current research: Dispelling the myth

Clinical studies show that a good massage therapy provided by a well-trained massage therapist who is sensitive to the problems of massaging people with cancer , and is comfortable dealing with people who are seriously ill, can help with the physical and emotional impact of the testing cancer procedures and treatments offered by the medical professionals.

Quality of life and coping abilities are also strengthened after Oncology Massage.

Studies suggest that Oncology Massage relieves pain, nausea, stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue while improving sleep and mental clarity.

Oncology Massage therapists apply gentle pressure and kneading of patient muscles and joints.

Before each session, medical conditions are assessed to determine techniques modifications.

Techniques are customised by adjusting the positioning, pressure, pace, and/or site to consider medical devices, side effects of drug treatments, and discomfort or pain associated with cancer and its treatments, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.   

 Modifications include alternative positioning and additional cushioning to reduce pressure on wounds, tumors, medical devices, and surgical sites.