We are happy to announce one of our first guest bloggers on Only Positive News. Her name is Melanie Bowen and she’s an awareness advocate for natural health. She wanted to share her wisdom about a topic very near and dear to her: cancer and massage therapy. Read on:
Amidst the turmoil and stress, massage therapy can be used to alleviate the some of the various symptoms of a cancer diagnosis. Many physicians use massage therapy to decrease stress and anxiety, which is often associated with cancer. Cancer patients can receive a variety of types ranging from aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage and Swedish massage. People who receive regular massages often benefit from a better quality of life.
Massage Therapy Yields a Better Quality of Life
Studies have been conducted on cancer patients who received a 30-minute massage once per week for three consecutive weeks. The breast cancer patients that participated in this study had typically a better quality of life and were able to sleep healthier. When massage is combined with aromatherapy, a 2004 review of 10 studies revealed a reduction in anxiety levels and improved psychological well-being.
Some studies have also shown that massage can increase energy levels and improve moods. Studies have shown that endorphins are released with massage therapy and those same endorphins are responsible for enhancing mood and overall a patient’s mental well-being.
Massage Therapy Promotes a Stronger Immune System
When stress is reduced; typically the immune system has a greater chance of fighting cancer-causing free radicals and other toxins in the body. According to a 2004 study, massage may also boost the number of lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Experts concluded this after studying breast cancer patients. These patients received three half-hour massages three to five times per week. After the study concluded, experts found a decrease in anxiety, depression and hostility.
These patients also had higher levels of serotonin and dopamine. Both of these chemicals are known to regulate mood.
Massage For Pain Management
Pain management is also facilitated by massage. Patients receiving radiation therapy reported decreased pain when receiving regular massages. A 2002 study supported these findings. Patients also reportedly had less anxiety and better sleep quality in this study also.
Massage is recommended as long as the patient does not have bone injury, osteoporosis or other bone-related problem. Patients with these injuries may benefit from light touch or may have to opt out of pain management altogether.
What to Consider Before Starting a Massage Therapy Regimen
Patients in chemotherapy treatments often have lower platelet counts. Because of this, they may bruise easily. Deep tissue massage may be uncomfortable. Light touch is recommended instead. Radiation therapy treatment patients often cannot receive deep tissue massage either. Discomfort increases as a patient’s progress in their treatments.
Patients with tumors should avoid massage in the area of the tumor. The cancer could spread and cause more difficulty in the healing process. Massage or manipulation of bone in an area near cancer could cause a fracture and should be avoided.
Are You a Candidate for Massage Therapy?
In general, most cancer patients are candidates. Even mesothelioma patients can benefit from massage. Cancer patients should consult a physician to determine if they are a good candidate for massage therapy and get out there immediately and start feeling better inside out amidst your recovery process by getting a massage!
Melanie Bowen joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2011 as an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives. You will often find her highlighting the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. Melanie also assists in social media outreach in her efforts to spread awareness.
Keep up with Melanie’s work here.