Our newest recruit has a personal story to share, about how she came to have such an interest in Oncology, or Cancer Massage.
Massage and Cancer Recovery
When I first heard that my mother had breast cancer, I stood in disbelief. I felt numb. Not knowing what to feel or how to be. And speaking with others, they’ve felt similar feelings of helplessness.
Cancer has sadly become an everyday reality for so many in Australia. According to the Cancer Council, it’s expected that one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by 85.
Thankfully, I had knowledge & experience of how I ‘as a massage therapist’ was able to assist and support my mother through her journey of recovery.
Massage during cancer – Busting Myths
One of the worries first-time patients have, is whether it’s safe to have massages. Studies have shown that cancer spreads due to changes to a cell’s DNA, along with other processes. Massage will not affect the spread. In fact, massage can help with many symptoms of those undergoing treatment such as providing;
Stress and anxiety unfortunately are a natural part of enduring an illness. Cancer treatments, mammograms and surgeries can be very invasive and make you feel like a specimen. It takes a toll mentally having to constantly be prepared to fight the disease.
My clients have mentioned that the physical comfort that a massage provides is reassuring and nurturing. One woman commented how safe it made her feel, during a time of such disruption in other areas of her life.
Pain, fatigue and nausea are just a few of the symptoms one may experience. Studies have demonstrated that regular massage reduces the impact of these symptoms for patients by up to 50%. In this study of almost 1,300 people, participants were asked to score their symptoms before and after massage. Patients also noted that the longer the massage the better the outcome.
Nurturing touch has the power to assist in letting go of suppressed emotions and can increase positive emotions. Massage has been proven to reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, particularly in oncology patients. One study found significant reduction in serum cortisol and prolactin levels, of participants’ arms that had received aromatherapy massage, compared to traditional rest.
What to expect
A trained skilled oncology massage therapist knows how to provide a safe and modified massage that is sensitive to what patients may be going through. We will take into account medications you may be on, treatments you may be having, and stress triggers that you may have. They will use appropriate pressure depending on your requirements and modifications to the directions of lymphatic elimination if there have been any lymph glands removed. Extra cushioned supports, draping techniques, calm lighting all to allow you to feel secure and pampered.
No matter how helpless this disease makes us feel (whether it is your reality or a loved one), we are in control of how we choose to deal with it.
If you have any further questions about massage while fighting cancer, please call 13 11 20 to speak with the Cancer Council.