What is Oncology Massage?
This is a question I get asked by therapists, clients, medical professionals and even by those who are well versed in the benefits of soft tissue therapy. In my experience, what makes it different from other types of massage is the disease and the clients’ state of health. Like other conditions that affect the tissue and the physiology of the body’s systems, therapists will need to modify their techniques, the positioning, the duration of the session, the depth, speed and the area in which a therapist can work. A massage therapist will also need to consider the type, the location and the effect of both the disease and treatment. The biggest difference however, is the actual application of the massage.
Oncology massage is neither light, fluffy nor unsubstantial. It addresses the needs of the client and how the tissue responds, the most descriptive word I use when teaching this method is to feel what is happening underneath your hands, to be led by the tissue and respond to it, not force your way through in an unthinking way, but to ‘melt’ into the soft tissue in a considered way. This form of massage is not exclusive to Oncology but it is less demanding on those who are suffering with cancer or any condition that is placing a greater stress on the body’s systems, the intention of this approach is to assist the client’s recovery rather than causing them to recover from the massage.
I use this form of massage all the time and my clients love it, it gets the job done, it even meets the needs of those that still like the deep massage without the abuse deep work can place on the body, no one walks away feeling short changed just better than when they came in.