Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Massage and Cancer - Myth Shattered by Science

There are a few misconceptions about massage and cancer patients. The main misconception is that massage can cause the cancer to spread. This is simply not true.

Some people believe that massaging a person with cancer could be harmful. A common fear is that massage will cause the cancer to spread by means of the lympathic system. It is a fact that cancer spreads via the lympth system. However, it spreads via changes to the cells' DNA and other

processes, NOT via movement or other mechanical means.

Comfort-oriented massage can safely be given to people at any stage of their cancer. This comfort-oriented massage, is understood to be any form of systematic touch. We need to get away from the idea that massage is only about working on tight muscles, detoxifying, or assisting with recovery from injury.

There will always be some form of massage (with the right modifications) that can be given to a cancer patient. It can be given even when the patient is receiving chemotherapy, or before or after radiation therapy.

Indeed, rather than being harmful, massage offers many benefits for the cancer patient.

Massage can help diminish the side effects of conventional cancer treatments, and improve quality of life. Scientific research shows that massage can reduce: fatigue pain anxiety depression nausea.

A nurturing massage can help the person feel whole again, re-establish a positive body image, and rebuild hope. A nurturing massage can be given by family or friends as well as by a professional therapist.

Health professionals in Australia are just now beginning to understand the important benefits that massage offers people with cancer. Major cancer centres in the USA and UK already provide massage as one of their services for cancer patients.

Tony Wilson, a professional massage therapist since 1999, runs a mobile massage practice in the Sydney Hills. He has a particular interest in working with cancer patients, and in encouraging everyone to be actively responsible for their wellbeing.

Visit his website at for practical hints and techniques for self-care.

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