Massage for Men’s Health

Massage for Men’s Health

In recognition of June as National Men’s Health Month, we offer this important info about massage benefits specifically for men.

There is one general benefit of massage therapy that is especially relevant to men’s health: enhanced blood circulation. Because men have a statistically higher incidence of circulatory and cardiac disorders than women, maintaining a healthy circulatory system is vital to a man’s health and massage therapy is an ideal way to achieve this.

From a healthy heart to satisfying sex, maintaining the proper circulation of blood through the arteries is one of the most important things men can do to maintain good health and slow the aging process.

Another important health issue for men is prostate health. Acute prostate infection contraindicates massage. Prostatitis characterized by chronic pelvic and/or groin pain without infection will benefit from the general pain relief that massage affords. At Pacific Massage Services, we use muscle testing to assess pelvic, hip and low back pain for an imbalance in the pelvic structural alignment. One of the most commons findings is iliopsoas spasm, which we treat with a release technique of the iliopsoas muscle, accessed through the abdomen. Many men with chronic prostatitis get lasting relief after treatment with this massage technique.

The prostate gland receives dual autonomic innervation from the prostatic nerve plexus, a part of the pelvic autonomic plexus. The pelvic plexus receives its parasympathetic input from the sacral segments of the spinal cord (S2-4) and sympathetic fibers from the hypogastric presacral nerves (T10–L2). So lumbosacral massage techniques can be effective for prostate health.

Massage is the go-to treatment in recovery from surgery for athletic injury. Muscle, tendon and joint pain from participation in sports is another common malady among men, including post-exercise stiffness of the “weekend warrior,” muscle pain from repetitive movement or over-exertion, or more serious conditions such as sprains and torn myofascial tissue.

Massage therapy reduces swelling and eases pain and stiffness. It also promotes circulation to injured areas, bringing in fresh oxygen and nutrients for healing, and assists in removing metabolic waste products that further irritate injured and healing tissue.

There are many massage techniques for treating a wide range of athletic complaints, such as medial or lateral epicondylitis, knee and rotator cuff injuries and back strain, to name a few.

Massage is magic for “the morning after!” It relieves hangover symptoms with headache relief, calms the nerves of the digestive organs, and enhances liver/kidney function to process and eliminate alcohol from the body.

For heart health, satisfying sex, pain relief, better sports performance and general wellness, a regularly-scheduled massage session is one of the most important things men can do to maintain good health and slow the aging process.

Contact us about our Men’s Health Special for the month of June! 

Massage Therapy for Headaches

Massage Therapy for Headaches

Image result for headache

Fifty million Americans have chronic headaches – the most common pain problem reported to physicians, ranging in severity from annoying to debilitating. Massage therapy can help significantly with the 3 most common types of chronic headaches.

At Pacific Massage Services we assess whether a patient’s headache might indicate a life-threatening condition, such as tumor, meningitis, aneurysm or head trauma. During intake of a headache patient, we ask the following questions:

  • Is this the first headache you’ve ever had?
    • Is this the worst headache you’ve had?
    • Is this one very different from your usual headaches?
    • Do you also have other symptoms: fever, body pain, earache, dizziness, confusion, stiff neck?
    • Have you had a recent head trauma?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions results in an immediate referral to the patient’s physician to rule out a serious problem. Massage is contraindicated for a headache due to infection, recent head trauma or central nervous system injury.

Another important question we ask is: Could you be dehydrated? With insufficient water, the salinity, and thus osmotic pressure, of the cerebrospinal fluid in the cranium rises. This painful head pressure can be relieved with adequate hydration.

Once we have established that the headache does not seem to involve another condition, we determine the type of headache to help us select the most effective treatment for three main types of chronic headaches:

  1. Tension Headache. Characterized by tension and pain in neck, shoulders, head, face, TMJ; feels like a tight cap squeezing the entire head.
  2. Vascular Headache. Deep throbbing pain from excessively dilated blood vessels in the meninges, causing migraine and cluster headaches.
  3. Inflammatory. Accompanies sinus infection, URI or UR allergy; constant, deep facial pain, often exacerbated by movement.

A structural imbalance is often the root cause of chronic headaches. While massaging tense muscles can bring temporary relief, correcting a structural imbalance can bring long-term relief from chronic headaches. Two factors influence a successful massage treatment:

  1. Release of contracted muscles. Skilled massage therapists release the upper thoracic fascia, the contracted musculature of all cervical and upper thoracic muscles, and all skeletal attachments. Muscle tension constricts blood flow to these muscles and to the head. This combination of muscle spasm and inadequate blood supply is the primary cause of pain in tension headaches.
  2. Structural Alignment. Back/neck/shoulder tension often creates a structural imbalance, as can treatment to these muscles alone. So we balance upper back work by including lower back massage, and posterior work by also releasing anterior and lateral muscles, thus allowing any structural or postural misalignment to rebalance. The correction of postural deviation is often all that is needed to prevent future headaches. For vascular headaches, structural realignment has the additional benefit of improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and blood to the head, giving long-lasting relief.

In addition to hands-on treatment, at Pacific Massage Services, we also counsel patients on postural causes of headache, such as long hours of phone or computer work. We make suggestions for improvement, for example placing the computer monitor at eye level and use of ergonomic seating. As well, we advise patients on lifestyle changes such as sufficient water intake and possible dietary causes. When appropriate, we recommend stretching, exercise, chiropractic care, physical therapy or medical attention.

Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Image result for relax put your feet upYour feet have walked about 75,000 miles by age 50 and they must last a lifetime! Regular care can help keep your feet up to the task.

With proper detection, intervention and care, most foot and ankle problems can be reduced, cured or prevented.

Here are some common foot problems and ways massage therapy can help:

Arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, often accompanied by an increase in joint fluid, causing painful swelling and pressure in the joint. Massage therapy soothes reduces swelling and relieves arthritis pain in the feet.

Diabetes. Due to the circulation and neurological problems of diabetes, many people with this blood sugar problem experience diabetic foot ulcers which can become infected and lead to amputation or death. Massage enhances circulation of blood and lymph and helps avoid diabetic foot ulcers.

High Blood Pressure. Also known as hypertension, this condition can place additional pressure in the feet, causing edema (swelling), discomfort and pain. Massage therapy is a commonly-used treatment for swelling of the feet and ankles.

Peripheral Artery Disease. PAD is caused by a blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the legs when fatty deposits (plaque) accumulate. CAUTION: DO NOT MASSAGE legs of a PAD patient! It could dislodge plaque deposits and cause severe injury or death.

Peripheral Neuropathy. Damage to the peripheral nerves – the nerves most distant from the core of the body – is a common effect of diabetes, causing numbness and “pins & needles” in the feet. Massage soothes and relieves these discomforts.

Sprains, Strains and Fractures. Feet and ankles work together to provide support and movement for the entire body. A sprain is injury to soft tissue. Massage helps prevent swelling, relieves pain and speeds recovery of damaged muscle, tendon and ligament tissues.

Heel Pain. The heel bone – calcaneus – is the largest of the 26 bones in the foot. Pain in this area can be relieved with massage therapy.

Tendonitis. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common causes of heel and ankle pain. Massage therapy is often effective in relieving this painful condition.

Plantar fasciitis. This is an overuse injury of tendinitis, causing inflammation, pain, tenderness and/or thickening and/or degeneration of the connective tissue that attaches leg muscles to the bottom of the foot. It is often caused by spasm or tightness in the calf muscles. Massage therapy to the leg and foot muscles can release spasms, thus relieving strain and pain in the sole of the foot.

Remember – for prevention and treatment, massage therapy can help your feet support you, take you where you need to go and walk a lifetime of 100,000 miles!

Massage Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Massage Therapy in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

In recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, we offer information on the benefits of massage therapy for treatment during recovery from addiction.

In the early stages of recovery from addiction, patients often experience an uncomfortable conflict between their body and mind – with the mind knowing treatment is necessary, while the body still craves the addictive substance, such as alcohol or drugs. Therapeutic massage helps bridge that gap, as a powerful component in an integrated treatment plan.

Integrating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all stages of recovery: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. Medical management of alcohol and drug withdrawal during detox often is not enough to prevent relapse.

Massage treatment reduces the tendency to relapse. General Pharmacology reports that massage therapy increases beta-endorphins in the blood by 16 percent. Alcohol decreases production of endorphins. While the neurochemistry regains normal balance, this is the recovering addict’s most likely time to relapse. ­­­

Massage has the ability to decrease anxiety, depression, agitation and cravings. Research at The Touch Research Institute/Univ. of Miami, has documented the physiological effects of massage, including: massage’s ability to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

In 1998, the Touch Research Institute published findings that a regular massage regimen increases dopamine levels. The fact that massage therapy stimulates dopamine production and decreases cortisol levels makes it highly effective in a standard detox program. 

On a psycho-emotional level, part of recovery is learning to identify and manage situations and feelings that trigger alcohol/drug use. Regular massage sessions can aid the client’s awareness of the stressors that trigger alcohol consumption. Being conscious of these patterns is a step toward recognizing and healthfully addressing emotions associated with cravings. Emotional release can commonly occur with massage, providing a safe, non-threatening way to manage stress and emotions without the aid of drugs or alcohol.

On a spiritual level, the deep relaxation from massage can provide a still inner place for patients to become aware of their spiritual needs. Recovering addicts have reported a new appreciation of life when they can simultaneously be present, feel good and be substance-free.

Massage has the unique ability to affect all levels of our being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. As a valuable component when integrated into treatment, massage helps recovering alcoholics succeed in their recovery.

Sources: Integrative Healthcare Institute: 2005; Miller, N.S.: Treatment of the Addictions: Applications of Outcome Research for Clinical Management. New York: Haworth, 1995. Touch Research Institute, Miami, Florida: 2003. Counselor-The Magazine for Addiction Professionals: Oct. 2003.

Tired and Achy All the Time?

Tired and Achy All the Time?

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In recognition of March as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month, we share information on the benefits of massage therapy for this exhausting condition.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a distinct collection of signs and symptoms that affect multiple systems in the body. It varies in severity from mildly limiting to completely debilitating. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officially named this condition in 1988, purposely keeping the name general to include all patients with the wide variety of symptoms that characterize this condition.

The central defining symptom of CFS is extreme fatigue/exhaustion that is not relieved by rest. It may be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, slight fever, muscle and joint pain, headaches, excessive pain after mild exertion, short-term memory loss, inability to concentrate, and/or depression, in addition to non-restorative sleep.

Other symptoms of CFS are prolific and may include: digestive disturbances, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, morning muscle stiffness, and others. There is much crossover between CFS, fibromyalgia, lupus and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as psycho-emotional problems relating to living with chronic pain.

Primary CFS treatment consists of making lifestyle choices that support optimum wellness and immune function: stress management, moderate dietary choices, gentle exercise and adequate sleep. Many CFS patients are hypersensitive to medications, and often find that a lower dosage is adequate.

Massage therapy is  helpful for CFS patients in the following ways:

Pain relief

Improved sleep

Lower anxiety levels

Cleanses blood and tissues

Increases endorphin production (“happy” hormones)

Decreases cortisol production (stress hormones)

Relieves depression

Stimulates circulation when exercise may exacerbate pain.

The caring support of the therapist, combined with skilled touch, has the potential to make CFS less isolating for patients suffering from this debilitating syndrome.

Give us a call to learn more about info and SPECIAL OFFERS THIS MONTH for CFS patients.

Pacific Massage Services: 808.885.4459.

Got Arthritis? Get Massage Therapy!

Got Arthritis? Get Massage Therapy!

Massage therapy offers many health benefits, but can it ease the joint pain of arthritis? Discover what’s proven to work best, and what should you know about massage therapy for arthritis.

My client, Mrs. D, a middle-aged homemaker, uses massage for the muscle pain that accompanies joint flare-ups. Another patient, a college student says massage calms the tension and stress of her chronic pain.

Massage, whether conducted in a softly lit day spa or a treatment room at a physical therapy clinic, is something many people use to soothe sore joints and muscles, to ease anxiety or to help them sleep better. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health, reports that massage is one of the most popular complementary therapies used by Americans, with close to nine percent of adults using it. Until recently, little was known about why massage seemed to work, but recent research suggests that massage can affect the body’s production of certain hormones linked to blood pressure, anxiety, heart rate and other key vital signs. But is massage safe and effective for people with arthritis?

Massage and Arthritis

Regular massage of muscles and joints, whether by a licensed therapist or by self-massage at home, can lead to significant pain reduction for arthritis patients, according to Tiffany Field, PhD. As director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Field has conducted studies on the benefits of massage for arthritis. Her research and other studies on massage for arthritis, regular massage therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall joint function.

For example, a 2006 study by University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, examined 68 adults with knee osteoarthritis receiving two Swedish massages per week for eight weeks, compared to a group who received no massage. The massage group reported significant improvements in knee pain, stiffness, function, range of motion and walking.

Massage also benefits people with painful hand or wrist arthritis, Field concluded in another 2006 study. Twenty-two adults with hand or wrist arthritis were given four weekly massages from a therapist and taught to massage their joints daily at home. Just a 15-minute, moderate pressure massage per day led to reduced pain and anxiety, and increased grip strength for the participants as measured on comparative pre- and post-therapy tests.

Most people who try complementary therapies, including massage, do so to address back and neck pain, according to a 2007 NCCAM report. A number of studies confirm the effectiveness of massage for back and neck pain, including one published in 2011 in the Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at the effectiveness of massage therapy on 401 people with chronic low back pain. The researchers found that massage did reduce their pain, and the benefits lasted at least six months. They also concluded that the type of massage wasn’t that important – different types worked about the same.

“Massage is free of any known side effects and according to our results, clearly shows therapeutic promise,” said senior investigator David L. Katz, MD, associate adjunct professor at Yale School of Medicine. “Massage is important when conventional treatments are far from ideal. NSAIDs are often not well-tolerated. Cox-II inhibitors like Vioxx were developed as substitutes for traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, but pose toxicity problems.”

Sources: Susan Bernstein: arthritistoday.org;

How Massage Helps You Quit Smoking!

Image result for kick butts dayHow Massage Helps You Quit Smoking!

The American Cancer Society uses the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to make a plan on that day to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for one day – smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

In the early stages of smoking cessation, people often experience an uncomfortable gap between their body and mind. Therapeutic massage can bridge that gap, and is a powerful adjunct treatment in the process of quitting nicotine.

Integrating massage into a smoking cessation program is advantageous in all stages of overcoming nicotine addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. Norman S. Miller notes that medical management of cessation often is not sufficient to produce sustained abstinence from recurrent use.

Massage treatment reduces the tendency to relapse. Massage is crucial initially, as it effectively helps the person get through this most vulnerable phase of quitting. This can be a powerful – even life-changing – experience for clients, as it helps them feel good while remaining nicotine-free.

On a physical level, the enhanced circulation that ensues from massage also helps during detox. Invigoration of blood and lymphatic flow promotes an efficient exchange of oxygen and nutrients into the body’s tissues, and the removal of toxins and metabolic waste products.

On an emotional level, part of a smoker’s recovery process is learning to identify and manage the feelings and situations that trigger tobacco use. Regular massage sessions can aid the client’s awareness of the stressors that cause body tension and trigger the urge to smoke. Being conscious of these patterns is a step toward recognizing and healthfully addressing emotions associated with cravings. Emotional release can commonly occur with massage, providing a safe, non-threatening way to manage stress and emotions without the aid of nicotine.

Massage has the unique ability to affect all levels of our being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. As a valuable component when integrated into addiction treatment massage helps smokers succeed in quitting smoking.

Massage Therapy Helps Manage Diabetes

Massage Therapy Helps Manage Diabetes

Image result for massage for diabetesIn recognition of November as Diabetes Awareness Month, we explore the benefits of massage therapy for this prevalent, life-threatening disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, one out of every 11 people currently has diabetes. But what is more worrisome, is that one in four people do not know they have diabetes.

Diabetes comes in two forms: Type I, which is not preventable and in which the body does not produce enough insulin, or Type II, which is preventable and in which the body cannot process insulin correctly.

There are 5 key benefits of massage therapy for the diabetic client:

  1. Increased circulation tends to encourage cellular intake of glucose and improve insulin utilization. This benefit is expected; however, a diabetic client should check glucose levels an hour or two after receiving a massage to witness how his glucose levels have been altered.
  2. Relaxation is a great benefit to the diabetic client. The physical and mental stresses of having chronic disease may take a toll upon the entire body, yet calming the nervous system can bring ease to the client, allowing her body to better restore harmonic organ balance.
  3. Positive myofascial effects to the diabetic client will include increased mobility and enhanced tissue elasticity. Both of these effects will allow the client to avoid a sedentary lifestyle that often sets in upon depression associated with his condition.
  4. Friction and scar removal techniques over chronic injection sites can relieve pain and dysfunction associated with these regions. Chronic buildup of scar tissue can thicken tissue to an extent that severely limits mobility. Relieving these regions will restore mobility even further.
  5. Massage and reflexology at the areas featuring neuropathies may help restore nerve functionality and sensation. A lack of nerve functionality brings a host of other concerns for allopathic practitioners; therefore, improving sensation will help a client remain on a proper clinical course of treatment.

Increasing circulation, relaxation, positive myofascial effects, relieving scar tissue at injection sites and diminishing the effects of neuropathy are all positive benefits to the diabetic client that will assist this individual in living a normal, healthy life.

From Massage Magazine, 2015. Information presented in this article is not intended to replace advice from a medical professional.

 

How Massage Helps People with Diabetes

How Massage Helps People with Diabetes

In recognition of November as Diabetes Awareness Month, we explore the benefits of massage therapy for people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, one out of every 11 people currently has diabetes. But what is more worrisome, is that one out of every four of people in the United States do not know they have diabetes.

Diabetes comes in two forms: Type I, which is not preventable and in which the body does not produce enough insulin, or Type II, which is preventable and in which the body cannot process insulin correctly.

A sedentary lifestyle combined with consuming more processed foods high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup are cited as common causes of the rise in Type II diabetes in the U.S. The cost of lost work time and healthcare associated with diabetes is an estimated $245 billion a year. This is a serious condition that is impacting the quality of life for many Americans.

Early symptoms of diabetes include: Frequent thirst, dramatic mood swings, chronic cold feet, tender areas of the body, leg cramps, puffy feet and loss of sensitivity in the feet. These symptoms are very representative of some of the complications that people living with diabetes experience: nerve damage, foot problems and skin conditions.

Nerve damage from diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy. About half of all diabetics have some degree of nerve damage. Regulating blood glucose levels is the best way to delay diabetic neuropathy or prevent further damage. The most common form of neuropathy is called peripheral neuropathy, which affects the legs and feet (enter foot complications). Peripheral neuropathy can cause loss of feeling, so one can injure their foot and not know it. This can lead to untreated injuries or infections. Diabetes causes poor circulation in general, and one of the areas most commonly affected by this is the feet. Blood vessels can narrow and harden, leading to a reduced ability to fight infection and heal, and chronic cold feet. This is why people living with diabetes are more likely to have lower limbs amputated than others.

Image result for massageMassage therapy is one of the best ways for diabetics to manage peripheral neuropathy. Massage of the lower extremities improves circulation in the legs and feet. Massage helps manage muscle and foot pain, improves and balances stress levels, which helps alleviate the mood swings that can result from changes in glucose levels.

Evidently massage has been recommended as a treatment for conditions related to diabetes for more than 100 years. A recent literature review on alternative therapies for diabetes was published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences. It touts the benefits of massage for people living with diabetes: Three published results of two trials and one unpublished preliminary study have examined the positive effect of massage on normalizing blood glucose. One trial also assessed the improvement in 56% of cases of diabetic neuropathy of the lower extremities by syncardial massage.

Massage has been demonstrated to reduce muscle tension in both subjective self-reports and objective electromyographic testing. Relaxation from massage has been demonstrated to be greater than that brought about from rest alone. Massage can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, two features of the relaxation response. The extreme stress-reducing benefits of massage have raised the possibility that massage may be of benefit to people with diabetes by including the relaxation response, thereby controlling the counter-regulatory stress hormones and permitting the body to use insulin more effectively.”

Massage therapy can truly help people living with diabetes manage their symptoms and live more comfortably with their disease, as a drug-free, noninvasive, and minimal-risk pain management option.

Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

MASSAGE THERAPY FOR CANCER PATIENTS

Note: The information in this article is intended for informational purposes only. Working in this field must be done within scope of practice, in conventional medical partnership, and with adequate education and training.

“The patient’s body must be touched with hands of peace, whispered to, reverently anointed, and handled as if it is a delicate flower.”Gayle McDonald, author of Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer.

As massage therapy integrates with conventional medicine, more research is emerging on how bodywork can positively affect the course of cancer. Specialized training, awareness of the risks, protocols and modalities of massage therapy for a person with cancer is crucial for therapists before treating an oncology patient. We require written approval of the patient’s physician before starting treatment. We avoid deep tissue work until we receive a Relieves fatigue and nauseaRelieves fatigue and nausea

physician’s report that the cancer is in remission.

Benefits

Regular massage therapy during and after cancer treatment provides the following benefits:

Relieves fatigue and nausea

Improves blood circulation

Balances blood pressure

Improves sleep

Calms the mind

Reduces stress

Appropriate bodywork includes lymph drainage, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular therapy, myotherapy and myofascial release, and energy work such as Reiki or Healing Touch.

Appropriateness

Skilled touch is beneficial at nearly every stage of the cancer experience: hospitalization, pre- and post-operative, outpatient care, during chemo and radiation, recovery at home, remission or cure, and during the end stage of life. Regardless of how severe the side effects of cancer treatment, there is always a way to increase the patient’s comfort with some type of touch therapy. It is crucial to have a qualified practitioner who has been trained in working with cancer patients.

Cautions and Contraindications

Cancer treatment places a heavy toxin load on the body, which massage can help eliminate. With a low white blood cell count, the immune system is vulnerable to external pathogens. Until immunity recovers, introduction of germs can have devastating consequences. Therefore, extreme attention to hygiene should be practiced in the treatment of cancer patients. Light pressure is always used, because low platelet count renders the patient vulnerable to bruising or internal bleeding.

Because weakness and fatigue are common during treatment, a conventional 60-minute massage session may be too long and arduous. More frequent but shorter sessions, 20 minutes or less, are a more realistic and beneficial goal.

Traditional cancer therapies can dehydrate the body, thus the typical use of IV fluids. With a shortage of fluids to flush out any toxins released by bodywork, a massage that is too intense can maximize stress on the liver and kidneys, and can trigger a toxic reaction. Again, brief, light sessions can circumvent this issue.

The theory that massage may cause metastasis is no longer considered a threat. Science now understands that cancer spreads due to genetic mutation, and not by mechanical means such as massage or exercise. However, it is still crucial to recognize there sometimes are contraindications. For example, a therapist shouldn’t work directly on a site of radiation, tumor or lymphedema, without special training. Heat application is contraindicated if the patient has high blood pressure or a heart condition concurrent with cancer.

At Pacific Massage Services, we offer a variety of services that can be combined into customized treatment plans for each client’s individual needs. We provide in-home services for patients and office appointments for family and caregivers. Special programs & pricing available.

Information and appointments: 808.885.4459 ~ pacmsg@gmail.com

Medications for Cancer

Because oncology medications are so numerous and complex, it is beyond the scope of this publication to discuss individual drugs. We research each cancer patient’s medications on a case-by-case basis for cautions and contraindications to massage therapy, and proceed with treatment only if deemed safe and appropriate, according to our research sources.

Protocols

We recommend and utilize four primary elements of protocol for cancer patients:

  1. Permission of physician
  2. Communication with patients & physicians
  3. Documentation of each treatment
  4. Compassion for patients & loved ones

Working with this population is not only challenging, but requires specialized training. Any cancer patient desiring massage should be sure to choose a therapist who is trained in the physiological, mental and emotional components of cancer illness and treatment.

Gentle massage is the most effective, well-known complementary therapy for cancer patients. Research on its efficacy indicates that massage: decreases pain, improves vitality, improves organ function and benefits emotional mood. As our understanding of the benefits of touch for cancer broadens, massage therapy for this population is increasingly in demand.

Our Principal Therapist, Donna Thomas, is trained and certified in Therapeutic & Palliative Massage for Cancer Patients, through Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center, New York City, 1998. She has worked extensively with cancer patients for over 20 years.