Oncology Massage – Therapeutic Touch


A note on your oncology massage therapist.

Charlton is qualified in the disciplines that help to care for those with Cancer. We don’t treat cancer, but we do help to make your life easier by helping you deal with its effects. We can also reduce stress, calm your mind and give you an outlet to let out all your feelings, or just be you for a moment rather than a cancer sufferer.

Can a person with cancer get a massage?

Yes if your therapist has received the appropriate oncology massage training as Charlton has at Essential Feeling. He can provide you with a safe and effective massage, whatever stage you are at in your cancer journey including during and after treatment, in remission, cure or at the end of life.

It’s necessary to understand what we mean by oncology massage though. Traditionally when people think of a massage, they think of pressure and oils etc. That’s not appropriate for an oncology massage. It would be just too much pain. When we talk about an oncology massage, we’re talking about a very light and simple touch which is intended to help you reconnect with your body in a way which is generous of spirit.

What is oncology massage?

Oncology massage is a modification of massage techniques to provide a lighter touch that safey works within the complications that cancer presents. WHen you receive an oncology massage at Essential Feeling, you can be sure that we’ll modify our treatment around your needs, avoiding areas that are too painful, if e.g. you’ve had surgery or a cannula, and we’ll concentrate on the areas where you most need help and support.

What are the benefits of oncology massage?

Clients and their caregivers report many and varied changes after a massage for cancer. An oncology massage therapist can provide a variety of positive effects from relaxation to scar tissue moblisation to pain reduction, and swelling reduction.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the benefits beyond these are:

General Benefits
● deep relaxation
● reduced stress and anxiety
● improved sleep
● eased constipation
● increased alertness and mental clarity
● less nausea
● reduced pain and swelling

Emotional Benefits
● decreased anxiety and depression along with increased feelings of well-being
● being pleasantly distracted during your massage time and giving you something to think about afterwards, beyond being a cancer patient
● improved body image
● restored hope and self worth
● satisfaction because you’re taking back control of your healing

Is massage OK during chemotherapy?

Yes, As long as you have a trained oncology massage therapist which Charlton, at Essential Feeling is.

Below are some of the benefits of oncology massage in and around your chemotherapy.
● reduced anxiety in advance of and during treatment
● reduced post-treatment fatigue
● improved appetite
● improved peripheral neuropathy

There are also benefits to having a massage following surgery for cancer:

● reduced anxiety ahead of your surgery
● easier recovery from anesthesia
● reduced post-surgical pain
● improved mobility and appearance of surgical scars
● reduced swelling and improved range of motion
● easier adaptation to implants and expanders

Can lymphoma patients get massage?

Yes. A manual lymphatic drainage massage is wonderful, it’s both soothing and effective for lymphoma. We’ll use a combination of pressure suitable to your requirements including lymphatic drainage which is a really light and gentle touch. It’s very soothing as well as beneficial in helping your lymphatic system eradicate toxins. Massage has long since been accepted within conventional healthcare for it’s therapeutic effects and is often offered to patients and carers as part of healthcare in hospitals.

Massage creates a feeling of deep relaxation which benefits emotional as well as physical disorders. Massage also raises spirits and reduces anxiety and depression. It also assists with breaking the pain -spasm cycle for chronic pain by releasing muscle tightness.

Charlie is also qualified in Reiki, so you’ll more than likely find an inner peace during your massage through his naturally warm healing touch.

What will your session help?

*Counterbalance the effects of stress
*Encourages deeper and easier breathing
*Improves joint flexibility
*Improves circulation
*Relaxes muscles and nerve fibres, easing pain
*Provides gentle relaxation
*Can boost your immune system by calming down your adrenal glands and releasing endorphins
*Gives you important ‘me time’
*Facilitates stillness of mind as well as body
*Helps you obtain a more positive approach to getting through tough times
*Aids depression
*Provides a sanctuary to express views and fears (if you want)
*Induces better sleeping patterns
*Re-establishes enjoyment from your body being touched rather than just being prodded and poked
*Empowerment and relaxation

I’ve heard massage can spread cancer?

There is no evidence to suggest therapies including reflexology and massage can cause the spread of metastases through the lymphatic or circulatory system. Hands on therapies such as what we offer at Essential Feeling are adapted to the most gentle and light touches and are no more likely to have an adverse effect than many other every day activities, such as taking a hot bath, walking and other forms of gentle exercise.

Can complementary therapies affect chemotherapy?

Reflexology, Reiki or Massage do not interfere with chemotherapy treatment, in fact having a session before chemotherapy can help your body tolerate your chemo sessions better. Neither do they have an adverse effect on the patient receiving chemotherapy or make it less effective. We suggest leaving it 3 days after your chemotherapy before having a treatment with us.

Can complementary therapy effect radiotherapy?

No, reflexology, reiki or massage do not interfere with radiotherapy treatment. As for chemotherapy above, we suggest leaving it 3 days after your radiation before having a session with us, just so you’re not overloading your body. However having our complementary therapy before radiation can help your body process the toxins the radiotherapy medication delivers.

Will the sessions intensify sickness?

We will use a very light touch throughout and our oils/ creams will be fragrance free. If you’re feeling sensitivity let us know and we’ll adapt accordingly for instance, we may decide to avoid your abdomen when massaging.

I’m the carer, can I have a treatment too?

Of course, it’s a very stressful and emotive time for carers and you often feel like you’re the one that has to be strong. You have two choices whilst your loved one has their session. Leave them in our trusted hands and go off and grab some guilt free time to yourself, or you can both have your sessions at the same time.

Why would I not be able to have this cancer care complementary therapy?

There are a few instances where our cancer care therapy may not be the best option for you. We’ve listed these below:
Brain metastases we’ll avoid head massage

What is the consultation process for oncology massage?

When you book in for your oncology massage we’ll send you an email which contains a link to a consultation form. You need to complete this before you come along to your appointment. Charlton, your oncology massage therapist will then discuss this with you before your session starts so that he can ascertain any ways in which he needs to adapt the massage for your specific needs.

Please ensure that you specify any of the below on your form that are relevant to you:
cancer treatment history, how long and treatment types
tumour site or metastasis
compromised blood cell counts
lymph node involvement
blood clots or blood clot risk
medications (short and long term)
vital organ involvement
fragile or unstable tissue
fatigue, neuropathy or pain and changes in sensations
late effects of treatment

Are you trained in oncology massage for cancer patients?

Yes, and we have years of experience of providing MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) massage to clients. Having this experience and the MLD qualification means that we know what to do to make you most comfortable during and after your session.

If you would like to make an appointment, please feel free to use the online booking form below. Otherwise, we’re happy to talk first, but please do text us in the first instance on 07757 946023 and we’ll be back in touch as soon as we’re free.