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Massage Therapy for Mesothelioma Patients

Massage therapy is an alternative medical practice, but a growing number of people rely on it as a supplement to traditional treatments. Mesothelioma patients can enjoy many general benefits of massage, like relaxation and reduced pain. However, there are specific benefits specific to cancer patients. Oncology massage is a specialized field of massage therapy, conducted by trained professionals who adapt massage to meet the needs of individual patients. While oncology massage may pose some risks, it is overwhelmingly positive for the majority of mesothelioma patients.

Massage Therapy

Massage is much more than a rub down. Medical professionals consider massage a complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM).Trained and licensed therapists perform massage, and while some people use it to feel relaxed, others see real health benefits.

Massage therapy is the rubbing, manipulating, and pressing of skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons to produce certain results. The most common results are reduced pain and stress. There are many different types of massage. Some are more generalized, like Swedish massage. Others focus on a specific purpose, like sports massage to prevent or treat athletic injuries. Massage ranges from deep to light pressure and can be tailored to meet individual needs.

Oncology Massage

Oncology massage is specially tailored to cancer patients, including those dealing with mesothelioma. A therapist trained in oncology massage understands the special needs of these patients, how cancer affects the body, and the side effects of cancer treatment. Practitioners adapt standard massage therapy techniques to accommodate the needs of cancer patients.

An oncology massage therapist will require more information about a cancer patient. Before treatment begins, the massage therapist will need information about the type of cancer, the site of the tumor and any metastases, treatment history, areas of fragile tissue, full range of patient symptoms, and many other factors that determine the treatment approach.

General Health Benefits of Massage

Most people who have had a massage know some of the benefits, and research confirms their experience. Studies confirm massage can reduce anxiety, stress, and certain types of pain. Massage can also improve digestive disorders, help heal injuries, and provide a sense of relaxation and well-being. There is even some evidence that massage can improve immune function.

How Oncology Massage Helps Patients

The strongest evidence about massage therapy for cancer patients supports its effectiveness for reducing stress and anxiety. Multiple studies show a clear connection between massage and reduction of these negative emotions. For someone with mesothelioma, stress and anxiety can become a way of life. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy cause anxiety, and massage helps relax patients anxious about treatment.

Massage therapy helps patients cope with side effects of treatment. It can reduce post-surgery pain, reduce fatigue associated with chemotherapy, and improve general mobility, especially after surgery. Massage can even help cancer patients recover more quickly from general anesthesia used for surgery.

A better quality of life is one of the major benefits of oncology massage. The physical, mental, and emotional effects of mesothelioma can have a huge impact on life enjoyment. Massage can help patients relax, feel better, boost mood, improve sleep, reduce severity of physical symptoms, and generally feel less stressed.

Precautions

While there are clear benefits to oncology massage, there are also limitations. Patients with cancer are at a greater risk of adverse effects. These side effects could include bleeding by bruising. It can also result in internal hemorrhaging or bleeding through wounds, infections, increased pain, and bone fractures.

Massage modification can help mitigate the risks. A trained oncology therapist may use lighter pressure and less force and avoid deep tissue massage. He or she will also avoid wounds and learn individual areas of pain, sensitivity, and other weaknesses to provide a safe experience. A mesothelioma patient should work only with a licensed massage therapist experienced with cancer patients.

As with all complimentary and alternative treatments, be sure to include your medical team in the decision making process. While you may think massage is a good idea, your doctor or oncologist may advise against it. Your medical team can also recommend a trained professional in oncology massage.

Massage therapy is a beneficial alternative health strategy. It can typically be combined combined with traditional medicine to improve patient quality of life. Mesothelioma and other cancer patients can especially benefit from specialized oncology massage. As a result of this practice, patients can experience relief from stress, anxiety, pain, and other symptoms of living with cancer and its treatments.

Page Edited by Dave Foster

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Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available. Connect with Patient Advocate Dave Foster

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