In the past people worried that massage could cause cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body and therefore cancer was considered a contraindication to massage. This is now known to be a myth, cancer develops and spreads because of changes to a cell’s DNA (genetic mutations) and other processes in the body. Massage or other movement such as exercise does not cause cancer to spread. In fact, massage can be very beneficial for those who have cancer.
It is still important to understand how cancer affects the body though, and adaptions and modifications may be needed depending on your current stage of health. These may include length of session, pressure and speed as well as site restrictions, positioning and avoiding any areas affected by cancer, such as tumour sites or lymph nodes, or any areas being treated with radiotherapy.
Massage can help relieve the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of treatment such as chemotherapy related fatigue, nausea, stress, depression, insomnia and pain. It can ease muscle tension and promote relaxation and emotional wellbeing. It has also also been found to support healing and increase the effectiveness of treatment. Therapeutically it provides a comforting touch and even a gentle hand or foot massage can be beneficial. Sometimes massage may release emotions, this is a natural reaction and you should not feel embarrassed or concerned if this is the case.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or would like to know if it would be suitable for you or anyone you know to receive a massage. It’s not essential for you have permission from your medical team before treatment but if you are concerned about how massage may affect you then you may wish to discuss it with them prior to making an appointment. Sometimes certain specific treatments may require explicit consent in which case I will discuss this with you at the time.
Please note, massage is not in itself a treatment for cancer, it is also not suitable for areas affected by lymphodema, you should seek a specialist in Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) if you require treatment for this condition.