Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

Friday, July 19, 2013 11:00 AM

massage therapyMany think of a massage as a luxury, something you treat yourself to for stress relief after a particularly busy week at work or as a method of relief for the occasional shoulder twinge after a workout at the gym. And a massage can do exactly that but it can also be used for so much more.

Studies have shown that massage therapy can be beneficial for cancer patients both during and following treatment. Massage therapy can counteract many of the negative physical and emotional symptoms of cancer and side effects of cancer treatment for patients. More and more cancer patients are interested in finding ways to enhance their conventional treatment with complementary therapy options, including massage therapy.  

Charlotte Walker, Massage Therapist in NorthShore’s Department of Integrative Medicine, shares some of the potential benefits of massage therapy as a complementary treatment for cancer patients:

  • Reduces pain and relieves stress. Massage promotes relaxation and boosts the body’s production of endorphins, which can help relieve stress, reduce pain levels and swelling, and loosen aching, tense muscles.
  • Improves mood and quality of life. Increased anxiety and potential depression after a cancer diagnosis and during cancer treatment are not unusual for patients. Regular massage can reduce anxiety and help create a prolonged sense of well-being, improving a patient’s overall mood. Massage gives patients the time to breathe and relax, which can be the key to feeling your best during a difficult time.
  • Improves sleep patterns. Less pain and stress during the day means less pain and stress at night, which can help cancer patients sleep better and more soundly. 
  • Adds positive touch. Cancer treatments can be lifesaving but they are not always pleasant. The gentle, caring touch of massage therapy adds a positive touch in the midst of what might feel like the poking and prodding of treatment.

Join us on July 25th at 11 a.m. for our next online medical chat. Charlotte Walker will answer all questions related to massage therapy and pain management. Submit questions here: chat.

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