Many people regard massage as being a luxury, but for people with a serious illness like cancer it can be a very powerful tool to help cope with treatment.
Oncology Massage is the adaptation of a conventional massage treatment for an individual with a diagnosis or history of cancer. Sometimes referred to as light touch massage or compassionate touch, oncology massage is applied with mindful intent to elicit the relaxation response in clients which can aid in symptom reduction.
Oncology Massage is an effective form of treatment which can assist in alleviating symptoms of pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression and nausea which for people undergoing cancer treatment or with a history/diagnosis of cancer feel at a much higher level. During oncology massage treatments the aim is not to ‘fix’ a person, however we use our specialised skills to create an environment in which to help the person manage some of these symptoms.
This style of treatment enables the person’s body and mind to reach a deep state of relaxation.
What if I have a chemotherapy port, can I still have Oncology massage?
Yes. Positioning the client on the table in the most comfortable ‘sleeping position’ is the best guide towards a safe and comfortable massage. A supported seated position may also need to be considered should the ‘sleeping position’ be uncomfortable. Hand contact with port sites is avoided at all times.
What if I’ve just had chemotherapy, can I have massage?
When massage is given close to or during the administration of chemotherapy the massage is more beneficial and shows remarked decrease in fatigue and anxiety. If you have any concerns or questions about Oncology Massage please call Marie to discuss.
At the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York (2004), a five-year research project, involving more than 1,290 of the hospital's patients, showed that light touch massage provided was the most effective therapy offered in this study with a significant improvement as follows:
- Pain improved 47%
- Fatigue improved 42%
- Anxiety improved 59%
- Nausea improved 51%
- Depression improved 48%
- Other (including shortness of breath, memory problems, dry mouth or disturbed sleep) improved 48%
Assessment of the soft tissue followed by application of a variety of approaches such as breathing, slower tempo and rythym using fingers, thumbs, knuckles and elbows, incorporating trigger point therapy and myofascial release techniques to relieve muscle tension and soreness as well as restoring the return to range of movement of the joints. Mobilisation & stretching may also be used to reset the muscle tone. This may help to lengthen muscle and tendons which can increase flexibility and prevent pain and injury and promote blood circulation.
Therapeutic / Relaxation Massage
Using long, rhythmic strokes such as gliding, kneading and compression of the soft tissue with the application of oil or balms is an effective way of eliciting the relaxation response. Great for stress relief after a busy week at work, a great pick me up in times of low energy or as part of a regular time out just for you.
Massage is very beneficial during pregnancy, labour and post natal period to relieve stress, induce relaxation, reduce muscle pain and correct postural imbalance. Supported in a side lying position for comfort or on a special belly mat that allows you to lie on your tummy! Bliss..Some remedial techniques may be included to target specific problem areas like neck and shoulder or lower back tension.
A Japanese style of massage which draws from the principles of Chinese Medicine. In Japanese 'shi' translates as finger and 'atsu' is pressure. The health and harmony of our minds and bodies depends upon the optimum flow of energy referred to as 'Qi' (Chi or Ki) through pathways in the body known as meridians. The aim of shiatsu is to release any blockages or stagnation within these pathways so as your life energy may flow freely in turn allowing your body to heal itself and remain in balance. Shiatsu does not require the use of oils and is usually performed fully clothed on a futon mat on the floor therefore comfortable, loose, cotton clothing should be worn.