Massage therapy or physiotherapy involves the kneading and rubbing of the muscle tissue’s superficial layers to stimulate alleviate tension and enhance circulation.
Aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage, shiatsu massage, and Swedish massage are some of the most popular types of massage therapy around.
Massage Therapy Used in Cancer Treatment
There are doctors who recommend massage therapy as an adjunct to cancer therapy. While espoused as a way to help relieve pain related to cancer, massage therapy is also deemed helpful in reducing anxiety and stress associated with cancer.
Most of the time, massage is performed by licensed massage therapists, but sometimes, in certain situations, certain massage techniques can be administered by trained caregivers.
The Benefits Cancer Patients Can Receive From Massage Therapy
There is no proof that massage therapy can halt the spread or growth of cancer. Be that as it may, research has shown that this therapy may provide other benefits for people struggling with cancer:
1. Relief of Anxiety – A review of ten studies on aromatherapy massage in 2004 showed that aromatherapy massage can help reduce anxiety and boost psychological wellbeing in people suffering from cancer.
2. Improved Quality of Life – In a 2009 study, participants who were undergoing breast cancer therapy experienced improvements in functioning and quality of life after being administered with 30-minute massage once a week for three weeks straight. It also seemed that massage therapy helped them sleep better.
3. Reduction of Pain – In a study done 2002, 41 people being treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy experienced a reduction of their pain as well as improved quality of sleep and less anxiety after being given massage therapy.
4. Stronger Immune System – In a 2004 study, it was seen that massage helped increase the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells that fight disease and infection in the body) and natural killer cells in women suffering from breast cancer. These women also experienced less hostility, depression, and anxiety after being treated with 30 minutes massages thrice a week for five weeks. The massages also help raise the serotonin and dopamine levels in their bodies. Serotonin and dopamine are two mood-stabilizing brain chemicals.
Massage Precautions for Cancer Sufferers
Before undergoing massage therapy, it’s important for people with cancer to talk to their doctors first. Here are some of the precautions to keep in mind:
1. Cancer patients receiving radiation therapy may be prone to light touch and massage oils can trigger allergic reactions.
2. For cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy, a massage procedure may be uncomfortable.
3. Cancer patient being treated chemotherapy may be more susceptible to bruising.
4. Improper massage of bone in a body part of cancer metastasis could result in a fracture.
5. Theoretically speaking, the risk of cancer cells metastasizing to other body parts can increase when an area of a tumor is massaged. For cancer patients, it may be wise to avoid being massaged near cancerous areas or tumors.