Massage Therapy Complements Cancer Therapy

National Cancer Institute-Designated Health Systems Increasingly Utilize Massage Therapy  by Karen Menehan

A cancer patient might face such medical procedures as surgery, medication and chemotherapy,
as well as ongoing treatment post-recovery.

Increasingly, therapies such as massage are used to mitigate pain and anxiety.

A new analysis of U.S. cancer centers’ websites indicates massage, along with acupuncture,
consultations about nutrition and dietary supplements are the integrative therapies most
commonly offered in National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated health systems. …

MASSAGE Magazine spoke with a leading oncology massage educator to help determine the
reasons behind this growth.

Johnnette du Rand Kelly is a massage therapist who practices oncology massage. She is also
founding director of Greet The Day, an organization that provides therapies for cancer patients.

MM: The authors of the analysis mentioned that conventional cancer treatments can produce
challenging effects like hot flashes, nausea and fatigue. How does massage therapy benefit
cancer patients?

JK: Research shows that massage reduces pain and anxiety.

When a cancer patient or family member asks me about the benefits of massage, I often like to
also add that it is touch that feels good at a time when touch often does not, and that massage is
a reminder for the patient that they can feel better, possibly even good, at a time when their body hurts.

Being able to meet the basic human need of safe and comforting touch is in and of itself
therapeutic.

MM: In your experience, what has the response been by cancer patients to massage therapy?
Are they aware of it, do they feel better after receiving it, do they request it?

JK: In both in- and out-patient settings, patients’ response to massage is, unsurprisingly, very
welcoming and overwhelmingly receptive. In the two academic cancer centers that Greet The Day works in, the patients who are aware of massage as an available service regularly request it. For others, it’s a pleasant surprise to be offered massage as a part of their care. … Source: www.massagemag.com

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