For cancer patients, finding a way to deal with the pain and the stress of diagnosis can be an incredibly challenging experience. While many patients continue with their doctors’ prescribed treatments including chemotherapy or surgery, others are also beginning to try new methods to cope with the pain and stress of cancer treatment. Massage therapy has become a popular alternative for many patients because it helps reduce stress and muscle tension and provides a sense of relaxation.
Why Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy helps open blood vessels to increase oxygen availability in the cells, improving circulation and frequently reducing pain associated with cancer treatment procedures. For cancer patients who have limited mobility because of their illness or due to recent surgery, massage helps stimulate inactive muscles and relieve stiffness and aches.
Cancer-specific massage has also become popular among mesothelioma and other cancer patients looking for alternative means to cope with their diagnosis. Oncology massage is relatively new in the field of medicine and it is difficult to find certification programs for massage therapists looking to work strictly with cancer patients.
Since cancer patients require specialized care to ensure that their treatment programs are effective, it is important for the massage therapist to fully understand the patient’s condition and their individual needs. Massage should never be given to a patient who has recently had surgery or who is unable to sustain muscle stimulation due to injury. However, massage therapy has helped many cancer patients both physically and psychologically.
While massage therapy is not a panacea for cancer patients, it is an excellent way for patients to relax while they go through the stressful sequences of medical consultations, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments on top of any additional stresses related to work or family matters caused by cancer treatment.
Massage therapy can help improve a patient’s quality of life as they go through this period, enabling them to help their bodies heal as they focus on getting back to a healthy body and mind. When cancer patients are able to relax during a massage session, their entire body can benefit from reduced tension to decrease recovery time and reduce pain.
Consult your doctor and find a massage therapy that will benefit you and your cancer treatment. Give yourself a vacation mind, body and spirit from some of life’s everyday stressors and get out there and soak up all that massage therapy has to offer!
Contributed by Melanie L. Bowen