To say that cancer is hard on the patients and their families would be an incredible understatement. A terrifying disease whose treatment can be even more brutal than the disease itself, just hearing the diagnosis can leave devastating impacts on a person's mental health and wellness. Physically, cancer and chemotherapy wreaks havoc on the body, but the emotional toll from the start and even years after treatment is significant. Thankfully, many sufferers of cancer find relief with massage therapy. A study done by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that many cancer survivors are already using massage therapy to cope with lingering physical issues, anxiety related to fear of recurrence, and other symptoms.
Studies have shown massage therapy to be effective for reducing the pain associated with cancer and its treatment. Results from 12 different international studies were compared and concluded that "Massage therapy significantly reduced cancer pain compared with no massage treatment or conventional care." There are also countless studies confirming that the quality of life of cancer patients is improved by bodywork, as well as a few other practices such as meditation and yoga.
While massage therapy is safe throughout many stages of cancer treatment, anyone with a medical condition should consult their healthcare practitioner before receiving bodywork. Not only is massage helpful for cancer patients, it's also beneficial for caretakers. A caretaker's stress is significant, and too many times we see family members who nurture and provide for their loved ones, but never make time for themselves. Self-care isn't selfish, and can be relieving for the friends and family members who are affected by the illness. Pain comes in many forms; We want to help alleviate as much of it as possible.
-Breanna Kinman, Licensed Massage Therapist