Oncology Massage: Supporting Living Well

Written by Megan Colwell


It is a sad truth that even the loved ones of cancer patients often feel afraid of hurting their sick loved one with a simple hug or other forms of contact. A hug then means a whole lot more than it used to, and so loved ones refrain, leaving the cancer patient more isolated than ever in a time when they need the close support of family and friends. The Australian Cancer Council recommends massage for cancer patients, otherwise known as ‘oncology massage’, as the ideal support for cancer patients to be received at stages when they need it most throughout their cancer journey.

Benefits of Oncology Massage
Eleanor Oyston from Oncology Massage Training says medical research has shown that massage can significantly improve the comfort and wellbeing of patients with cancer or a history of cancer.

"(A recent medical study) of 1290 patients over three years showed that cancer patients experience up to a 50 per cent improvement in their levels of anxiety, pain, nausea and depression. Research also shows that 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day reduces the incidence of metastatic spread of cancer by 50 per cent. As massage influences the same endorphins as exercise, this suggests that massage may be positively beneficial for those with cancer or a history of cancer,' says Eleanor.

Some benefits of oncology massage to cancer patients include:

  • Diminishment of side effects from cancer treatment.
  • Overall improved quality of life
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Reduced nausea
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decreased feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Misconceptions About Oncology Massage

In years gone by, massage in any form was strongly discouraged for anyone suffering with cancer. It was thought that the pressure of the massage stimulated blood and lymph circulation, which could possibly lead to a spread of malignancies throughout the patient’s entire body. It has since however come to light that whilst cancer does spread via the lymphatic system, it spreads because of changes in the cells' DNA versus actual movement of the cancer or other mechanical means.

"Massage as a contraindication for people with cancer is a myth. Until recent changes in nursing (over the past 15 to 20 years), nurses and physiotherapists regularly massaged patients as part of a daily routine to reduce anxiety and relieve pain," says Eleanor.

What Makes Oncology Massage Unique?

"Oncology massage is a highly skilled set of techniques and modification of massage techniques that are designed to work with every complication of cancer and cancer treatment, even metastatic bone disease. No one is untouchable; every person suffering can be held and comforted in some way."  Leanne Govett is our certified Oncology practitioner and has the caring nature to go with her amazing skill set.

Book with Leanne Today




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