Massage Therapy For People Living With Cancer

In the year 2001 alone, the American Cancer Society estimated that 1,268,000 people in the United States lost their battle with cancer. Cancer has touched many lives, and will continue to do so. Cancer does not discriminate. Cancer attacks our husbands, our wives, our mothers, our fathers, our daughters, our sons, our sisters, our brothers, and our friends.

According to Cancer Nursing: A comprehensive Textbook, “At some point usually later in live, over 1 in 3 American women will be affected by cancer, and nearly 1 out of 2 men.” With these types of numbers, not many of us will escape unscathed by cancer’s wrath.

Cancer is an aggressive disease. Cancer not only attacks the body, but it also attacks the mind and spirit as well. It leaves a person feeling drained not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually as well. Massage Therapy is one way to battle the fatigue created by cancer and cancer treatments.

When receiving massage on a weekly basis, people living with cancer have reported:

• A decrease in nausea

• Fatigue

• Anxiety

• Pain

• An increase/improvement in

• Skin Conditions

• Feelings of Well-Being

• Digestion/Elimination

• Mobility

There are several reasons why massage therapy is great for everyone, but especially beneficial for people living with cancer and cancer therapies (chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery) are all very aggressive and invasive treatments. These treatments can often leave a person feeling fragmented. Massage therapy helps by putting some of those fragments back together, making a person feel whole again, mind, body, and spirit.

How does massage therapy work? Why or how does massage therapy help people living with cancer? Massage therapy increases your circulation. By increasing your circulation, you are improving your lymph flow, which assists the body in removing waste, such as toxins. You know the things that make you feel stiff, sore, and maybe even bloated.

In her book Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People Living With Cancer, Gayle MacDonald writes, “The concern that increasing the circulation will cause cancer cells to release from the primary tumor and spread to distant sites is an old wives’ tale based on incomplete information.”

The topic on how cancer spreads is an article in and of itself. To learn more about how cancer does spread, I would recommend reading Gayle MacDonald’s book Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People Living with Cancer and Dr. John Lee‚s book What Your Doctor May Not Be Telling You About Breast Cancer. I have read both of these books and found them to be very informative and at times technical, but yet easy to understand.

If you are considering adding massage therapy to your treatment plan, please note the following: People living with cancer seeking massage therapy should discuss massage therapy with their oncology team.

People living with cancer should seek our a massage therapist that has been specifically trained to work with people living with cancer. Cancer has a way of changing the dynamics of the most personal and treasured relationships. The main provider of the family may not be able to provide. The primary caregiver might find themselves being cared for. These changes can often leave a loved one feeling guilty, confused, frustrated, or even overwhelmed. Massage therapy can help alleviate these feelings as well. Massage therapy can give your loved ones a much deserved and needed rest.

Because you are living with cancer does not mean you and your lived ones need to suffer. Adding massage therapy to your treatment plan would be extremely beneficial to everyone involved. Receiving massage therapy on a regular basis helps reconnect the mind, the body, and the spirit. Discuss massage therapy with your oncology team prior to adding massage therapy to your treatment plan.

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November 14th, 2011 - Posted in Alternative Medicine | | Comments Off

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