Massage or Reflexology
Oncology massage is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatments. Anyone who has ever received cancer treatment, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist who has received training in oncology massage.
Essential aspects of an oncology massage therapist’s skill set are an informed understanding of the disease itself and the many ways it can affect the human body; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.
Oncology reflexology is based on the theory that reflex points, located in the feet, hands, or ears, are linked to various organs and parts of the body. This treatment safely works with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. Stimulation of these points is thought to affect the connected organ or body part by activating the central nervous system to increase nerve and blood supply to the local foot and the influenced organ. The therapy itself compliments cancer care immensely. Symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, edema, or other adverse effects of chemotherapy can be targeted. Reflexologists can impact a wide variety of health problems and promote well-being and relaxation.
A 2007 study of 86 people with metastatic cancer compared reflexology administered by patients' partners. The group reported less anxiety and less pain just after the reflexology was given.
Stephenson N, Dalton JA, Carlson J. The effect of foot reflexology on pain in patients with metastatic cancer. Appl Nurs Res. 2003;16:284-286.