With it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let's talk a bit about massage therapy and cancer. There are MANY benefits of massage that could resonate with a cancer patient including better and deeper sleep habits, increased circulation, scar tissue healing, alertness/clarity, improved mental health, decreased fatigue and nausea, and better over-all health. That being said, we ALWAYS ask that the patient has a conversation with their doctor before beginning sessions with us - your doctor knows your body best, and in very rare cases will ask you to abstain from treatment.
What LMM does:
Once the client is cleared for massage, we create a custom plan depending on what benefits the client would prefer. Usually we plan for them to enjoy a more relaxing Swedish Massage and add in a bit of Myofascial Release if they have had surgeries. Swedish massage helps to improve circulation and remove metabolic wastes from the body (which is especially helpful if the client is also undergoing chemotherapy), while myofascial release helps to unravel connective tissue that has been damaged and tightened after injuries or deep incisions. We also use a lot of essential oils for relaxation and revitalization, so you may experience that as well!
Some concerns about receiving massage and cancer treatment simultaneously:
That the cancer will spread faster. Though it sounds logical that an increased circulation would make the cancer spread farther and faster, this is actually false. In order for cancer to metastasize a cancer cell has to change its DNA, which massage doesn't do.
My tumor is sore and I don't want it touched. The therapist won't work on the actual site of the tumor (unless you had surgery to take the tumor out and would like work done one the scar), and if it is at a place that makes it uncomfortable to lay down on the table, there are lots of pillows and cushions available to make you comfortable!
Have you (or someone you know) experienced massage while undergoing cancer treatments? Is there another concern that you experienced? How did massage help?
For more information check out these sites on Massage and Cancer: