Cancer and Massage
For Patients and Professionals
Issue #3 - February, 2005
Touch was never meant to be a luxury. It
is a basic human
need ... an action that validates life and gives hope to both
the receiver and the giver. The healing of touch is reciprocal.
Dealing with cancer is one of life's most stressful experiences. Massage does not treat
cancer - massage treats the accompanying stress. Massage engages a well documented
physiological effect called the relaxation response. Research shows that the
mind slows, muscles relax, stress hormones decrease, sleep improves, immune system
function increases and blood and lymph circulation increase.
Before surgery massage reduces anxiety. After surgery it speeds wound healing, helps
restore range of motion and mobility, improves the quality and appearance of scars and
reduces edema. Before chemotherapy or radiation therapy massage reduces
anxiety. Afterward, it may reduce or eliminate the need for medication for anxiety,
nausea, pain and depression. It often helps with fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite
and "fuzzyheadedness". It may also help with body acceptance.
Not only does each massage feel wonderful, the effect is cumulative. In each
successive session, progressively deeper relaxation is reached sooner and lasts longer.
Cancer Community Center
Southern Maine is truly blessed to have the CCC at 778 Main Street (Route One) in
South Portland. Patients, caregivers, family and friends find information, emotional
support and a variety of therapeutic and recreational activities, all at absolutely no
cost. For information visit www.cancercommunitycenter.org
or call 207-774-2200. (Be sure to check out the 2nd Annual On-line Auction.)
"A friend is someone who knows the song of your soul and sings it back to you when
you have forgotten the words". Anonymous
If You Are Hesitant About Massage....
A prospective massage client asked, " I really need and want the benefits
of massage......How do I get beyond my reluctance to undress and uncertainty about being
The benefits of massage result from caring touch in a safe and comfortable
environment. Once you have decided to receive massage, you and your therapist will
discuss what safe and comfortable means to you. It is then the therapist's job to
follow your expressed preferences.
Here are a few suggestions if you are hesitant about massage:
o Make a no-cost appointment to see the office and talk.
o Ask for a step-by-step description of a typical massage.
o Ask to talk with another of the therapist's clients.
o Bring a friend who can sit quietly during your
o Ask your therapist to focus on or to avoid specific
o Ask your therapist to work through the drape..
o Remain partially or fully dressed for your
Talk to the therapist about your concerns. Almost certainly the therapist has dealt
with the same issues many times and can adjust the session accordingly. Once you are
on the table you will quickly begin to relax. After the massage you will feel
wonderful. (For more information go to www.mettamassagetherapy.com and click on
The Perfect Gift
Massage is the gift that keeps on giving. Amazingly, the benefits of this 75
minute mini-vacation may continue for days or weeks. Call 207-831-8067 to order a
gift certificate for a friend, a loved one, or even yourself.
Cancer Massage Is Affordable
Massage can make a profound difference in the quality of life for anyone dealing
with cancer - no one should be deprived of the benefits. To that end, the
regular rate of $60 for 75 minutes on the table is reduced to $45 for cancer patients,
caregivers, and family members. For patients currently in treatment the rate is
$35. If massage presents a financial challenge, resources are available.
Call Bruce at 207-831-8067 for more information.
May you be healed, may you be a source of healing ...
Bruce A. Hopkins, LMT
Afterword: From the Cancer Massage Library
"The Touch Research Institutes [at Duke, Harvard, Maryland and Miami (FL)]
have conducted over 90 studies on the positive effects of massage therapy on many
functions and medical conditions in varied age groups. Among the significant research
findings are enhanced growth, diminished pain, decreased autoimmune problems, enhanced
immune function and enhanced alertness and performance. Many of these effects appear
to be mediated by decreased stress hormones." Touch Research Institutes
(accessed 1/10/2005) http://www.miami.edu/touch-research/List%20of%20Studies.html
"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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