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Oncology (cancer) massage

Oncology massage aims to ease pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Swedish, foot and light-touch massage are common modalities for alleviating the pain of patients with cancer.

What To Expect

Bodywork geared to patients with cancer is typically much gentler than traditional massage work. Sessions are tailored to the patient's individual needs, based on the type of treatment they are receiving and their side effects on a given day.

Who should do it: Massage therapists who are trained in oncology massage are taught to deliver a compassionate and physically sensitive experience for their patient. Based on the highly individualized nature of each case, the therapist must design an equally individualized session that caters to the patient's unique needs for comfort and support.

Certification in oncology massage is available through a number of organizations, though it is not always a legal requirement. One such organization is the Peregrine Institute of Oncology Massage Training in Santa Fe, N.M. This 300-hour program enables massage therapists to study a comprehensive curriculum. Coursework includes safety protocols and the use of bodywork to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments. Practitioners complete hands-on work under the supervision of a certified practitioner in a hospital setting.

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