Massage Therapy and Cancer
Massage Therapy and Cancer
There has been many a myth pertaining to massage therapy and cancer. What do I mean? Well, Doctors have warned patients that receiving massage therapy would spread cancer cells throughout the body via the lymphatic system and be detrimental to the patient’s help. And, as many dutiful, and, compliant patients, they believe what the Doctors tell them is the gospel truth.
While in fact, we have cancer cells in our bodies all the time, it is just unfortunate, that a rogue cancer cell runs rampant and latches itself onto a healthy cell which in turn is engulfed by the cancer cell and the hypertrophy of the cell begins bringing the cell to its new home(s) through the lymph system. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Doctors would shudder when they hear this very simplistic view of cancer and, there are many factors that do affect cancer – for example, environment (internal and external), genetics, and various other factors, but, massage when indicated, is not one of them.
If a person can use a wash cloth pressure to shower/bathe themselves, then they can receive the same pressure with the massage strokes. There activities of daily living (ADL) are not at all curtailed and the massage will provide some much needed relief. “Massage does not increase lymphatic circulation any more than any of a number of day-to-day activities. If increased circulation led to increased spread of cancer cells, doctors would warn patients against any activity at all, which they clearly do not.” (http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/278/Massage-and-the-Cancer-Patient) Therefore, when a Licensed Massage Therapist works on a person who has been diagnosed with cancer, he/she should voice what areas he/she are to work on and if the tolerance for milder strokes are needed and permissible.
There are many hospitals of noteworthy notoriety “Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City, Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and Geffen Cancer Center Research Institute in Vero Beach, Florida are just a few.” (http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/36/swarington.html,), which have been using integrative medicine (massage therapy, reiki, aromatherapy and reflexology) in consort with typical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
The benefits of massage therapy outweigh any unfounded contraindications pertaining to massage therapy. True there are some cautions which need to be taken into consideration – recent burns from radiation therapy, recent surgeries, open wounds, sutures and ports (clavicular or anticubital), are to be proceeded with common sense prudence. The advantages from a physical side are relief from pain, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, and muscle tension. On the emotional side, the healing of touch helps many people to allay their feelings of isolation, loneliness, depression and anxiety. Clients feel it improves their quality of life and stimulates the will to live. Besides, it just feels so darn good to get massaged when the effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation hurt so darn bad and make you feel like garbage!” (http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/36/swarington.html). As a client said to me, “I feel as if my body craves being touched and massage therapy can help me with that.”
As always, confer with your doctor(s) before hand to get the thumbs up “ok” signal to receive a massage session. Don’t let fear take hold of the fact that you deserve a better quality of life. I know without a doubt that massage therapy can contribute to the one life you are living -- now - in this single moment! Feel free to be victorious!
Go in Peace,
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