It can be really scary to even think about having cancer. Cancer ranks second highest in terms of number of deaths after heart diseases. It is associated with unbearable and merely controllable symptoms in most of the cases.
A large number of cancer patients tend to use medicinal therapies to encounter the different symptoms such as pain and anxiety associated with cancer and its treatment.
Receiving cancer treatment can be very overwhelming both physically and emotionally. For this reason, aside from the medication regimen to combat the spread of cancer cells in the body, other forms of therapy are also used in cancer management.
Massage is a complementary therapy which involves manipulating muscles and rubbing soft tissues of the body.Soothing effects of a massage therapy may provide some much-needed comfort and improve sleep, boost your immune system, and relieve anxiety, and fatigue.
According to a meta-analysis published in Integrative Cancer Therapies in 2015, which observed the effects of massage therapy on pain, found that massage can reduce the pain associated with cancer significantly. According to the research, massage was effective for pain relief related to surgery.
The vice president for industry relations and product development at Massage Envy Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, CG Funk notes:
“Massage therapy provides alleviation to those patients with cancer, which is a great change from other medical procedures used in oncology management ”
The Journal of Clinical Trials in 2014, says that a moderate therapeutic massage improved the levels of stress and quality of life associated with health in the patients with acute myelogenous leukemia. An improvement in the patient’s well-being has also been recorded.
“Providing massage therapy to stage 4 cancer patients in their homes may reduce the pain and promote an improved quality of life.”
Massage Therapy For Cancer Patients
Also known as Oncology massage, this form of therapy uses a conservative approach. Oncology massage therapists have the training to manage the symptoms and side effects that the patients are experiencing.
Oncology massage includes different styles, each having a different technique. Any style can be effective. It depends on the patient’s preference the style to appropriately manage the symptoms.
Some common styles of massage are Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, Tuina massage, Shiatsu, and aromatherapy massage.
Massage therapists are capable of offering different types of massage styles and techniques, and can help you find out which style is best suited for each patient’s needs.
Generally, massage therapists use their hands, however, they may also use their elbows and forearms or some special massage tools depending on the requirements. Massage techniques can range from light to firm.
Trained and experienced massage therapists know how to modify or alter the message style depending on the needs of the patients”
Moreover, to avoid complications, certain sites of the body are to be avoided, lighter pressure is applied, and length of the session is shortened.
Cost and Frequency
How often you should get a massage?
You must consider factors like the severity of the symptoms and the extent of benefits you received from the last message. Normally, cancer patients may get a massage once in a week.
A basic massage often referred to as a Swedish massage normally starts at about $50 for half an hour and $75 for an hour. The cost may vary depending upon your location. Specialized massages like aromatherapy or hot-stone may be more expensive than the basic massage.
Your insurance may cover the massage sessions as a part of your treatment. Massage sessions need to be considered medically and prescribed by a doctor in order for it to be covered.
However, it still depends on the type of insurance you have chosen. Some insurance plans may cover massage therapy while others may not cover it.
Many insurance companies will cover manual lymphatic drainage which is a specific type of light massage and used to treat Lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition associated with lymphatic system blockage preventing the lymph fluid from draining well and results in swelling of an extremity.
It is recommend for cancer patients to discuss with their physician about the therapeutic benefits of massage as well as in conjunction to their cancer treatment.”
It is your doctor’s call that whether he wants to include therapeutic massage in your treatment or not.
Various studies conducted over the times have shown that massage therapy may reduce pain, nausea, anxiety and fatigue in people having cancer treatments. It helps to make them feel relaxed and positive and rebuilds the hope for life.
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