What is oncology massage?
"Oncology massage is a massage therapy technique to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment.
"Anyone who has ever received cancer treatment, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist who has received training in oncology massage.
"Essential aspects of an oncology massage therapists skill set are an informed understanding of the disease itself and the many ways it can affect the human body; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.
"Clinical assessments and adaptations to the massage session for someone experiencing cancer or with a history of cancer treatment are critical to providing a safe massage. Standard oncology massage intake questions include those pertaining to:
- cancer treatment history
- tumour site or metastasis
- compromised blood cell counts
- lymph node involvement
- blood clots or blood clot risk
- medications (short and long term)
- vital organ involvement
- fragile or unstable tissue
- medical devices
- fatigue, neuropathy, or pain
- changes in sensation
- late effects of treatment
"A properly trained massage therapist will ask questions about these issues and more, depending on your unique situation. Many of the changes that will be made to your session will be virtually imperceptible to you as a recipient (and others may be quite obvious), but they are essential to safety and proper support of your wellbeing."
How can it benefit me?
"For Symptom Management, research has shown Oncology Massage improves the quality of life for people with a history or diagnosis of cancer.
"It reduces the side effects experienced from conventional treatment of cancer and the symptoms of the disease process itself (Cassileth and Vickers, 2004)
- Pain Improved 47%
- Fatigue Improved 42%
- Anxiety Improved 59%
- Nausea Improved 51%
- Depression Improved 48%
- Other (including shortness of breath, memory problems, dry mouth or disturbed sleep) improved 48%
"Light touch massage, as taught by Oncology Massage Training (OMT) was the most effective form of massage therapy offered in this study."
Qualified Oncology Massage Therapists in New Zealand
The Oncology Massage Training (OMT Australia) website has listings for practitioners in New Zealand. (LINK to https://www.oncologymassagetraining.com.au/index.php?content=42