A recent US survey of 4,139 cancer survivors suggested that massage therapy could reduce symptoms in cancer patients by 50%.
Physicians are quickly accepting massage as a supportive measure for cancer treatment. Many have found the benefits can counteract the side effects of medical therapies and alleviate the uncomfortable pain of surgical procedures.
The National Cancer Institute reported over 25% of cancer patients experience depression, and doctors are beginning to realize that massage improves mood and relives stress.
As studies continue to show strong supportive evidence that massage helps cancer patients in their journey to wellness, the medical profession is prescribing more complementary care for their patients.
Manage Anxiety and Depression
Cancer patients often experience isolation from the usual social interactions of their daily lives.
A diagnosis of cancer often contributes to feelings of anxiety, and depression ensues from the imbalance of stress and physical tension. Massage increases endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body, and relieves stress and reduces tension. Feel-good brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, are released and improve energy and mood.
Patients report an increase in relaxation and improved sleep after massage, with a possible reduction in the need for sleeping medication.
Remove Toxins from the Blood
The body responds to physical stress and pain with an increased heart rate and decreased circulation.
The heart works harder to move blood flow throughout the body, and the kidneys have more difficulty removing toxins from the body. Massage increases circulation and pushes blood and plasma through the lymphatic system and improves kidney function.
The patient reports improvement in symptoms of nausea as the body excretes toxins and oxygen levels increase.
Restore Muscle Function
Cancer patients in treatment may have periods of limited activity.
Lack of movement can cause muscle wasting and stiffness of joints. Massage techniques can stimulate muscle fibers and nervous tissue, simulating the body in motion. Relaxation of joints and decompression of spasms relieve body aches and revive the muscle tissue.
Massage may help prevent atrophy of musculature and restore muscle mass.
Increase Respiratory Function
In cancer patients, especially with mesothelioma, any improvement in breathing means a lot.
The tension of the rib cage and spasms in the accessory muscles constrains the inhalation, and exhalation of air. Massage can release spasms and encourage deep breathing in a controlled and beneficial manner. Purse lip breathing techniques in conjunction with massage can help the lungs expel carbon dioxide and inhale more oxygen.
However, mesothelioma patients should consult their doctor before indulging in any massage therapy.
Relieve Pain and Soreness from Procedures
Many cancer patients may endure daily assaults on their body.
Anticipation of frequent blood draws, IV therapies, surgeries and procedures, and other unpleasant medical interventions create stress and body pain.
Massage techniques push the blood towards the kidneys and assist in the elimination of toxic waste. Increased blood flow encourages the body to heal, and nourishes the tissues with oxygen and nutrients.
The Benefits Oncology Massage
As the benefits of massage for cancer patients are better studied, more members of the medical profession are supporting the palliative care for their patients.
The effects massage produces on the biochemistry of the body is well documented, and many studies have provided the benefits for cancer patients.
Oncology massage helps:
- reduce the need for sleeping medication
- reduce the need for pain medication
- decrease nausea
- to improve the mood for cancer patients
Stop waiting around and soak up all the benefits massage therapy has to offer and consult your doctor today to see if it is right for you!