More Information on Oncology Massage


Oncology Massage is the modification of massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. This modality benefits those who have a history of cancer, whether they are in treatment, remission, palliative stage or have been cured. The difference between an “oncology” massage and a regular massage is that the oncology massage is adjusted for your safety and addresses the current symptoms you may be experiencing.  The oncology massage therapist has been trained to be aware of treatment concerns, such as low blood counts, positioning restrictions, medical devices, and risk of lymphedema.

Why seek a therapist trained in oncology massage?
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 are the therapist’s skill set, being informed with understanding of the disease itself and the side effects of cancer treatments caused by medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation (e.g. nausea, pain, neuropathy, etc.). The trained therapist understands how to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these circumstances.

What to expect:

  • a detailed intake during your first visit, including the type of cancer you have (or had), past and current treatment, symptoms or side-effects you are experiencing, medical devices or lymph node involvement.
  • light and soothing pressure, especially around any areas that have been compromised.
  • organic, ayurvedic oils may be used for areas of pain or neuropathy.

If you are currently in treatment, you may need permission from your oncologist before booking an appointment.  I can send you a letter explaining Oncology Massage that you can give to your doctor if needed.

Oncology Massage Assessments
Clinical assessments and adaptations to the massage session for someone experiencing cancer or with a history of cancer treatment are critical to providing a safe massage. Standard oncology massage intake questions include those pertaining to:

  • cancer treatment history
  • tumor site or metastasis
  • compromised blood cell counts
  • lymph node involvement
  • blood clots or blood clot risk
  • medications (short and long term)
  • vital organ involvement
  • fragile or unstable tissue
  • medical devices
  • fatigue, neuropathy, or pain
  • changes in sensation
  • late effects of treatment
A properly trained massage therapist will ask questions about these issues and more, depending on your unique situation.  Many of the changes that will be made to your session will be virtually imperceptible to you as a recipient (and others may be quite obvious), but they are essential to safety and proper support of your well being.