Advances in cancer research and treatment have given physicians and other medical professionals more weapons than ever before in the fight against cancer, from chemotherapy and highly precise surgical techniques to immunotherapy and radiation oncology.
But a growing body of research shows that non-clinical treatments can also play an important role in helping cancer patients live happier, fuller lives — and among the techniques that has shown potential is oncology massage.
Oncology massage is a modification of traditional massage techniques that allows therapists to safely and effectively work with patients suffering from cancer and the complications that can be caused by cancer treatments. According to the Society for Oncology Massage, these specialized massage treatments can decrease levels of pain, fatigue and nausea, and also help ease depression and anxiety.
“Cancer patients are often facing a lot of stressors as they’re going through treatment,” says April Thomas, a massage therapist at Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness who specializes in oncology massage. “But for that period of time during their massage, anxiety levels, low levels of pain and fear can be tamed or even extinguished.”