Monday, October 22, 2012

Oncology Massage: Effective Complementary Care

Nobody wants to hear that they have cancer and whatever their specific diagnoses, all cancer patients must endure the rigors of medical treatment to fight their disease and survive. Unfortunately, most cancer treatments are worse than the cancer symptoms themselves. The thing designed to make them better in the long term often makes them sick and weak in the short term. Some cancer patients seek relief in alternative therapies.

Complementary Cancer Therapy

Massage is one such therapy. The popular complementary and alternative therapy integrates well with traditional medical treatments. Swedish massage is the most common form of massage therapy in the United States, but some patient’s benefit more from other techniques or a combination of techniques.

Oncology massage involves the manual manipulation of muscles and tissues through the use of hands, fingers, elbows and arms. Massage therapists rub, knead and stroke specific areas of the body to encourage relaxation and improve body functioning.
Oncology Massage Benefits

According to the American Cancer Society, oncology massage reduces the stress and anxiety associated with cancer and its treatment. Massage therapists use various techniques to relieve pain, stiffness, backaches and headaches.

Some people think massage increases the production of endorphins, mood-enhancing chemicals in the body. These “feel good” chemicals may play a key role in relaxation and stress reduction. In addition to the emotional benefits, massage may help cancer patients by reducing the physical side effects of cancer treatment: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue.

Effective Massage Techniques

Swedish massage is the most popular therapy for cancer patients because it relaxes the whole body and improves general well-being. However, medical massage therapists often combine styles and techniques. Myotherapy, neuromuscular therapy, acupressure, trigger point massage, reflexology and Therapeutic Touch are some examples.

Oncology massage adapts these different techniques and styles to meet the varying needs of cancer patients. Physicians are educated in the benefits of massage, while therapists are trained in the adaptations. Together, they provide the best care possible for individual patients.

Certain massage therapies are appropriate before and during cancer treatment, while others are more suitable a few months down the road. Patients should consult with their oncologist and massage therapist to determine the best complementary care.

Researchers have conducted many studies on massage therapy and its effect on cancer patients. While none support the claim that massage cures cancer or slows its spread, the findings suggest that massage is effective for symptom management.

Just as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are successful cancer-fighters, massage can do wonders to combat treatment side effects. Oncologists, nurses and other medical professionals now recognize massage as a useful complementary therapy.

Whether you are suffering from a breast cancer diagnosis, a mesothelioma diagnosis or even just feeling  down from your leukemia chemotherapy; the benefits of massage therapy could be right for you. Keep fighting and consult your doctor today to find a massage treatment that could be beneficial for you today.

This article and photo is contributed by our guest author Melanie Bowen, who joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2011 as an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives. You will often find me highlighting the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. I also assist in social media outreach in my efforts to spread awareness.
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These statements have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within guest post articles are not guaranteed. Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations made in the guest blogger postings. The copyright of the guest blogger’s content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog. Any mention in the Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product. Please note that guest bloggers are not paid by Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog for blogging content.

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