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Massage Therapy for Cancer

What Is the Difference Between Regular Massage Therapy and Massage Therapy for Cancer?

Oncology (cancer) massage therapy is massage designed for the needs of those dealing with the physical and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis and its treatments. Typically, it’s a gentle, light-touch massage. Depending on the individual’s needs, various techniques are modified in order to safely work with any complications that can arise with cancer and cancer treatment. 

What Are the Benefits of Cancer Massage Therapy?

A massage from a trained (oncological if available) massage therapist can offer you an opportunity to experience your body in a positive mode at a time when you may feel overwhelmed by your cancer diagnosis and treatment regimen.

We believe that massage for cancer patients can help integrate the mind, body, spirit and emotions through a calming and caring touch. Its profound effect includes the release of endorphins that can enhance the feeling of well-being and personal harmony and help improve one’s quality of life.

Oncology massage therapy can help lessen and manage cancer symptoms and side effects such as:

  • Nausea or lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Insomnia or feeling of exhaustion
  • Low blood counts
  • Localized pain or effects of surgery
  • Side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments
  • Stress/anxiety, depression
  • Fatigue, tension

Oncology massage can also help to:

  • boost your immune system
  • strengthen compromised body organs and systems
  • build up blood counts
  • improve sleep patterns, breathing, circulation, digestion
  • enhance your feelings of well-being

What Types of Oncology Massage Therapies are Available?

Types of massage offered at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center include, but are not limited to:

  • Swedish: the most common type of massage
  • Hand/Foot Reflexology: a technique involving applying pressure to specific reflex points that correspond to specific organs in the body
  • Reiki: a technique focused on stress-reduction
  • Craniosacral: a gentle technique focused on the bones in your head, spine, and sacrum
  • Chair Massage: massage conducted using a special chair

Massage therapy may also include a light lotion application. Be sure to talk with your doctor to see if massage therapy would be a good addition to your cancer treatment program.