Cancer, Caregiving, and Massage Therapy

While massage therapy can play a supportive role in cancer care, it can also support caregivers. Here’s a few things to know about massage for people in cancer treatment and how it can support you as well.

Is massage safe for people with cancer?

Yes, a massage therapist with training in oncology massage can provide a safe and effective massage no matter where a person is in cancer treatment or recovery.

Does massage have anything to offer people with cancer?

Yes, possible benefits of oncology massage include decreased levels of pain, anxiety, nausea, and fatigue. Massage may also help improve sleep and overall sense of well being.

What is oncology massage?

A massage therapy session is not one-size-fits-all. Oncology massage is a massage adapted to the specific ways cancer or cancer treatments have affected your loved one provided by a massage therapist with specific training in massage and cancer.

Great! Where can I get my loved one a spa gift certificate?

Awesome! You want to make sure that the location has a massage therapist with training in oncology massage. Be wary if the spa manager or massage therapist says they have not had training, but they will “just work lightly.”  Remember, massage is not one-size-fits-all; you want your loved one to receive a safe, effective massage. Here are some questions to ask to find out if the massage therapist at the spa is trained in oncology massage.

Or, you can find an oncology massage therapist using this locator tool.  And, if you are in or near Champaign, Karyn is a Preferred Provider for the Society for Oncology Massage. You can contact her here or schedule a massage here.

A trained oncology massage therapist will also be able to show you some massage techniques to use at home. You can provide more frequent massage. Even five minutes of massage can provide comfort to your loved one.

Does massage have anything to offer me?

Yes! You are amazing for helping your loved one through this difficult time. Caregiving can be a tough job. No doubt you are experiencing some stress, maybe even some pain. Massage therapy can help with this. Taking care of yourself is super important. If you get run down, who will care for your loved ones? Remember, self-care is not a luxury. So take some time for yourself. Get a massage. Meditate. Read your favorite book.

Take care of yourself.