Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

Friday, July 19, 2013 11:00 AM comments (0)

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.

Relax, Unwind – Health Benefits of Massage

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 7:58 AM comments (0)

Massage-BenefitsDim lighting, soothing music and invigorating scents can all be recipes for relaxation. And, in our busy lives, it’s often nice to have some downtime to focus on relaxation and rejuvenation of both the mind and body.

Massage therapy has been around for centuries and can be used for various wellness purposes. Massage therapy comes in many forms – including shiatsu, contemporary western massage, Swedish massage and tissue release.

Charlotte Walker, a massage therapist in NorthShore’s Integrative Medicine program, identifies some of the potential health benefits of massage therapy:

  • Enhance circulation and reduce blood pressure
  • Relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • Cleanse the system
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Stimulate nerves and relax the body
  • Restore the body’s flow of energy
  • Decrease anxiety

As is the case with any alternative treatment option you may be undergoing, it is important to inform your physician about this treatment, especially if you are being treated for any specific health conditions.

Have you ever gotten a massage? How often do you go?

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