ONCOLOGY MASSAGE—Caring Touch for People Living With Cancer

Oncologists are recommending massage more than ever as a complementary therapy to lessen the side effects of cancer treatment and provide gentle, nurturing touch in a time of great stress. 

Researchers have disproved the old wives’ tale that massage can spread cancer, and have shown that “…metastasis, the spread of cancer to distant sites, is a complex, biochemical process that is orchestrated by genetic alterations.  It is not a mechanical process spurred on by exercise, walking the dog, or gentle massage.” -Gayle MacDonald*.

Certainly cancer is a complex disease, and to work safely and effectively with people living with cancer, massage therapists need specific training. They must be educated regarding complications that can occur during cancer treatment and must know how to adapt the massage accordingly. Ilyse Streim, a massage therapist with Good Samaritan’s Center for Integrative Medicine, has received comprehensive training through the “Peregrine Institute of Oncology Massage” led by pioneers in the field, Sandy Canzone, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and Gayle MacDonald*.

Oncology massage includes both Eastern and Western approaches:

  • Comfort-oriented massage

  • Eastern Point Therapy

  • Foot and Hand Reflexology

  • Reiki and Comfort Touch

  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) for clients experiencing/or at risk for lymphedema

  • Adapting pressure level, positioning, and length of the massage so additional stress is not placed on the body

Massage can ease the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment at any stage of the cancer journey. Potential benefits can include easing pain, nausea, peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Compassionate care and gentle touch can be a respite from the challenges of treatment and provide a harbor of comfort.

*Author of Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer

Please call our integrative clinic for an appointment or questions at 303-673-1615

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