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Massage has long been utilized as a method of relaxation for general and medicinal purposes. Many individuals who have experienced injuries or certain illnesses turn to massage as an additional method of easing pain, including malignant mesothelioma cancer patients. Massage promotes a sense of overall wellbeing and works to relax the body and restore a sense of calm and balance to the mind.

Individuals who suffer from mesothelioma, a debilitating and painful form of lung cancer, may greatly benefit from massage. Massage is not a curative treatment option, but when combined with traditional cancer treatment methods, such as surgery or chemotherapy, massage can be an integral part of a patient's mesothelioma treatment plan. Patients who experience massage in conjunction with other treatments have reported a lessening of pain and an overall feeling of calm and relaxation.

Massage focuses on the working of specified muscles in attempt to manipulate the tissue and blood vessels below the surface, increasing blood flow throughout an individual's body. As the muscles are stimulated, oxygen supply within the body improves, which eases soreness, aches, and pains that cancer patients may experience as a result of their disease. In the United States, the traditional Swedish massage is the most popular option, but there are various other areas of massage, including shiatsu, deep tissue, hot stone, and Thai massage.

While massage will not cure or lessen the severity of mesothelioma and other forms of cancer, it can certainly ease the effects and promote a sense of relaxation in cancer patients. Massage is most helpful in the event that a patient is experiencing anxiety or emotional imbalance due to their traumatic disease, as it relaxes the entire body and thus induces a general feeling of peacefulness and balance within the mind and soul. Alternative treatment therapies, including massage, have been shown to vastly improve the overall health of cancer patients.

Patients who wish to implement massage into their treatment plan should consult with their physician prior to beginning any new methods.

Oncology Massage

The use of massage therapy as a form of cancer treatment is a fairly young concept within cancer care protocols. Progressive care such as massage therapy is now being considered more and more by patients and doctors. Conventionally used as a physical feel-good tool, researchers are now finding that the psychological and emotional effects of massage therapy can have a positive effect on individuals, especially cancer patients. However, there is one limiting factor: the lack of certification and licensing programs for those practicing massage on cancer patients, formally known as oncology massage.

Oncology massage refers to the form of massage therapy catered to the needs of cancer patients. Considering each patient's case is unique, it is the therapist's responsibility to be fully educated in the proper use of massage for various forms of cancer. Although the physical touch of massage has great benefits for the patient, emotional and psychological aspects need attending to as well. A therapist who is trained specifically in the field will have the experience and awareness to provide the patient with the proper care.

The aggressiveness of mesothelioma cancer often requires extreme treatment protocols such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Therapists specifically trained in oncology massage have the appropriate awareness and experience in complementing alternative treatments with such conventional treatments. Palliative treatments like massage therapy are often successful in easing the pain and discomfort that is often emitted from conventional treatment regimes. Having a therapist that is trained in oncology massage is extremely important to ensure the patient is receiving adequate treatment.

View Sources


S.M. Sagar, T. Dryden, and R.K. Wong. Massage therapy for cancer patients: a reciprocal relationship between body and mind. Current Oncology. 2007 April; 14(2): 45- 6.

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