Cancer and Massage
by Catherine Gross on February 21st, 2013

When is it okay for a cancer patient to have a massage?  There is growing recognition that massages are beneficial for any patient as long as certain guidelines are followed by trained professionals.  

I was just reading in  Is Massage Therapy Safe for People Living with Cancer?  "....The cornerstone of our profession is to First Do No Harm. Therefore, it is very important to work with a therapist who has been well trained to understand the long term effects of cancer and its treatments. Without this understanding and knowledge, a well-meaning therapist could potentially do more harm than good.  While massage was once considered taboo for someone with cancer, that is no longer the case. With a deeper understanding of how cancer forms and spreads though the body, we are now confident that skilled, gentle massage poses no more risk of spreading cancer than normal daily activities such as showering, hugging or exercising. And since these activities are encouraged for cancer patients, we can be confident that massage does not spread cancer.   Some of our country's finest hospitals and cancer centers (M.D. Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Beth Isreal Deaconess, Beaumont Hospital, St. Anne Cancer Center, Virginia Hospital Center, just to name a few) now offer regular massage as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for their patients." 

As this article notes, major cancer centers offer massages as part of their treatment plan for patients.  Another option is to experience  a somatic approach which generally uses a light touch or moves whole body parts rather than working  deeply with tissue.  Engaging in careful dialogue with each person helps the somatic movement practitioner to select which strategy is most appropriate.  A large percentage of Moving for Life Instructors are also trained as Dynamic Embodiment practitioners - an approved form of Somatic Movement Education & Therapy. 

Posted in Resources    Tagged with massage, cancer and massage, bodywork and cancer, somatic movement therapy, somatic education, touch and cancer, breast cancer alternative therapy, movement and cancer


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