Cancer and Massage
For Patients and Professionals
Issue #1 - November, 2004
is not a destination, but the journey.
Recovery from cancer is both destination and journey.
The primary focus of medicine is the quality of the destination.
The primary focus of massage is the
quality of the journey.
A Patient Asked: "I am
pretty beaten-up by my cancer treatment. Is massage truly good for me?"
It's amazing - at almost every stage of a cancer journey, even on a really bad day,
comforting and attentive bodywork reminds mind and body that there still is pleasure in
life. The deep relaxation reduces pain, fatigue and nausea. For a time, you are wholly at
Schedule Massage Before Chemo
The discomfort patients feel between chemo treatments often includes an unconscious
but very powerful anxiety about the next treatment. A proven way to defuse this anxiety is
to schedule massage for a day or two before each chemo session. For a patient on a 21-day
cycle, mind and body look forward to the massage for 20 days and to the chemo for 1 day.
It can make a huge difference.
I close each massage with "namaste", softly spoken. This Hindu word
means: "The God in me greets the God in you. The Spirit in me
meets the same Spirit in you."
Just one word
recognizes the equality of all and pays honor to the sacredness of all. (For more
information on "Namaste", see Exotic India Art.)
As a cancer patient, you should seek your doctor's verbal consent for massage.
In case your doctor would like to know more about massage tailored to specific cancer
conditions, take along a copy of "Pressure Staging of Cancer Massage Techniques
& Medical Authorization".
(This can be found at: www.mettamassagetherapy.com/medical.htm.)
Hair loss is experienced in many ways. Some scalps crave attention. Some scalps are
very sensitive and want to be left alone. And, some sensitive scalps come to crave
attention after trying very gentle massage.
Care for Your Caregiver
Families get cancer, not just patients. The stress of diagnosis and treatment can
affect caregiver as much as patient. For a caregiver, massage is time to put aside
responsibilities, relax deeply and reconnect body, mind and soul. For the patient, it is a
relief to know the caregiver is being cared for, too. Call for a massage gift certificate.
Report on Oct. 21st Open
By every account, the MMC/Scarborough Breast Center Open House was a great success for
patients, professionals and presenters. Thirty-four new subscribers signed up for Thoughts
about Cancer and Massage. The lucky winner of the drawing for a free 75-minute
massage has been notified.
What Does Massage Cost?
At Metta Massage Therapy, a 90 minute appointment (75 minutes on the table) is
$35.00 for patients currently dealing with surgery, chemo and/or radiation. It is $45.00
for patients out of treatment, caregivers, family members, teachers and healthcare
professionals. Regular rate is $60.00. (Please note that financial assistance is
available where needed.)
May your heart remain open,
Bruce A. Hopkins, LMT
Afterword: From the Cancer Massage Library
"Six years ago, I was asked to bring massage students to Oregon Health Sciences
University, a teaching and research hospital in Portland, [OR] to give comfort oriented
massage to people with cancer ..
.. The medical staff frequently has required us to
modify the bodywork sessions because of low platelet counts, low white blood cell counts,
recent blood clots, skin problems, medical devices or incisions. Never once have we been
asked to avoid certain patients or to make adjustments due to the potential for metastatic
MacDonald, Gayle. How Cancer Spreads. Massage Therapy Journal. Winter
"May you be at
peace. May your heart remain open.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature.
May you be healed. May you be a source of healing to all beings."
The Metta of the Buddha
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