Oncology Massage & Bodywork Mini Vocabulary Lesson

Oncology Massage & Bodywork Mini Vocabulary Lesson

Some oncology clients worry that having a massage when you have cancer may make the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body. But no research has proved this to be true. Instead, research has shown that cancer does not spread through increased circulation through a brisk walk or hot shower, therefore, cancer would not spread through similar increased circulation from a circulatory massage.

That does not mean that there are not special precautions and contraindications when providing massage therapy to clients who have had cancer, or are currently fighting cancer or are in terminal hospice. Practitioners should avoid massaging any area that is receiving active radiation treatments.  Do not massage areas where the skin is broken, bleeding or bruised.

Practitioners should avoid general massage therapy to your arms or legs if they are swollen because of lymphedema. Lymphedema is a build-up of fluid due to the lymphatic system not draining properly. This might be a result of surgery to remove the lymph nodes, or damage to the lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels from radiotherapy.  There is a specific type of massage used for lymphedema called Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD).

Complete oncology training should be completed prior to practicing massage on those who have cancer to review these precautions, contraindications and more.  You can find oncology bodywork and massage training at: https://ceinstitute.com/collections/oncology

In this video, we'll review some oncology terms that might be helpful when working with people who have cancer: 

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