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, including our oncology massage. We don’t treat cancer, but we 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 an oncology massage?

Yes, if your therapist has received 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. 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 intended to help you reconnect with your body which is generous of spirit. This is a drainage lymphatic massage which rids your body of toxins in a gentle, yet effective way.

What is oncology massage?

Oncology massage changes standard massage techniques to provide a lighter touch. This safely works within and to ease the complications that cancer presents. When you receive an oncology massage at Essential Feeling we’ll change 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 mobilisation 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 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 benefits of oncology massage in and around your chemotherapy.
● reduced anxiety before 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 anaesthesia
● 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 a massage?

Yes. A manual lymphatic drainage massage is both soothing and effective for lymphoma. We’ll use pressure suitable to your requirements, including lymphatic drainage, which is a light and gentle touch. It’s very soothing and beneficial in helping your lymphatic system eradicate toxins. They accept the therapeutic effects of massage within conventional healthcare. They even offer it to patients and carers as part of healthcare in hospices.

In addition, massage creates deep relaxation. This benefits emotional and 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 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 and body
*Helps you get 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. We’ve adapted the hands on therapies at Essential Feeling so they are the most gentle and light touches. They are no more likely to have an adverse effect than 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. Having an oncology massage 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 coming for your follow-up session.

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 between radiation and your oncology massage. This is so you’re not overloading your body.

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. For instance, we may avoid your abdomen when massaging.

I’m the carer. Can I book in for a treatment too?

It’s a very stressful and emotive time for carers and you often feel 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 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 he can find out 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 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 book your appointment, please use the online booking form. Otherwise, we’re happy to talk first, but please text us in the first instance on 07757 946023 and we’ll be back in touch as soon as we’re free.