Oncology massage is a type of massage therapy that is gaining popularity in recent years for its ability to help alleviate some of the physical and emotional side effects of cancer treatment, including radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer, but it can cause a range of side effects, such as pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue and tightness within the radiated tissue. In this blog, we discuss the benefits of using oncology massage during and post radiation therapy.
- One of the primary benefits of oncology massage for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy is pain relief. Radiation therapy can cause pain and discomfort in various parts of the body, including the site of treatment. Oncology massage can help reduce this pain and discomfort by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. This can help cancer patients manage their pain and improve their overall quality of life.
- Another benefit of oncology massage is the reduction of anxiety and depression. Cancer patients often experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, which can affect their emotional and physical well-being. Studies have found that massage therapy can help lower levels of stress hormones and increase levels of feel-good hormones, which can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. This can improve the mental health of cancer patients and help them cope more effectively with their cancer treatment.
- Oncology massage can also improve sleep quality in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Improved quality of sleep leads to better overall health, including helping cancer patients feel more energised and better able to cope with their treatment.
- In addition to these benefits, oncology massage can also help improve range of motion in tight muscles and joints in cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy. Radiated tissue can become stiff and tight post-treatment, limiting movement in surrounding structures such as joints and other soft tissue. Massage therapy can help rehydrate and soften the radiated tissue, allowing for easier movement and improved range of motion.
- Finally, oncology massage can enhance the overall quality of life for cancer patients. Research has found that massage therapy can help improve mood, reduce feelings of fatigue, and enhance overall well-being in cancer patients. This can help cancer patients cope more effectively with their treatment and improve their overall quality of life.
It is important to note that not all massage therapists are trained in oncology massage. When choosing an oncology massage therapist, it is essential to look for someone who has specialised training and experience working with cancer patients. They should be knowledgeable about the unique needs and concerns of cancer patients and be able to adapt their techniques to meet the individual needs of each patient.
In conclusion, oncology massage can be a safe and effective way to manage some of the physical and emotional side effects of cancer treatment, particularly during and post radiation therapy. By providing pain relief, reducing anxiety and depression, improving sleep quality and range of motion, and enhancing overall quality of life, oncology massage can help cancer patients feel better and cope more effectively with their cancer treatment.
Lopez, G., Liu, W., Milbury, K. et al. The effects of oncology massage on symptom self-report for cancer patients and their caregivers. Support Care Cancer 25, 3645–3650 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3784-7