Cancer Patients Benefit From Massages
As part of my Because They Care Series where I highlight guest authors on subjects that assist us in living our lives out loud with balance and joy I am featuring this article written by Melanie Brown of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
I Sharen Sierra highly recommend the following article for individuals dealing with a diagnosis of Cancer. I personally know as my mother, Alice Young was diagnosed with stage IV uterine cancer and was told she had 6 months to live. My mother looked at her doctors and simply said, "no offense but you all may be good but you are not MY GOD." While she is no longer walking this earth she was right she survived and thrived through the illness and treatment. We included both a medical and holistic approach and massages were a part of her life and road to recovery.
Studies Show Massage is Beneficial to Cancer Patients
Massage can help anyone balance their stress level, but this is particularly important for someone who has to go through difficult obstacles concerning his or her own health. Massage is especially beneficial to someone who is dealing with difficult obstacles in his life. One of these obstacles could be a health condition, such as cancer. Studies show that cancer patients are benefitting in several ways from therapeutic massage. We are seeing therapeutic massage being used more frequently in medical treatment programs. Massage assists patients by reducing their symptoms, improving their ability to cope and enhancing their quality of life. Cancer patients, including those with mesothelioma, are using therapeutic massage to improve their sense of wellbeing and help control some of their symptoms. Published reports of studies done on therapeutic massage and cancer do reveal benefits to the patient.
One study was conducted on patients that received treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center located in New York City. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the changes in symptom scores from each patient, in reference to his pain, stress, fatigue, nausea, depression and anxiety. The study included 12 licensed massage therapists and 1290 cancer patients. Three massage variations were used: light touch, foot massage and Swedish.
Data from the patients’ symptom cards indicated that their pain decreased in severity by about 50 percent after their massages.
In September of 2004, the “Journal of Pain and Symptom Management” stated that these 1290 cancer patients showed promising results related to a decrease in their pain, anxiety, fatigue, nausea and depression.A more recent prospective randomized trial that was conducted by the Canadian Touch Research Centre located in Montreal and CHUM Hôpital’s department of radiation and oncology, evaluated how massage therapy affected anxiety levels in cancer patients who were undergoing radiation therapy. Over a period of six months, 100 patients were assigned randomly to control sessions or massage sessions. The massage group was given a 15-minute massage prior to radiotherapy for 10 days, consecutively. The control group was not given a massage. A Visual Analog Scale and The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were utilized to evaluate each group.Following their massage, patients’ anxiety scores were reduced by aver 40 percent, as compared to their pre-massage scores. In both of the groups, patients noticed an average reduction of 20 percent in their anxiety, between their first and last radiotherapy session. This is not considered statistically significant. Massage therapy did seem to be associated with a significant decrease in the immediate anxiety scores just before a radiotherapy treatment, which is considered as procedural anxiety.
One of the most recent publications of a controlled and randomized trial of therapeutic massage, for patients with cancer, is a multicenter study in the U.K. A total of 288 patients with cancer were offered complementary therapy services for their clinical depression and/or anxiety. These patients were randomly allocated a course of the usual supportive care alone or aromatherapy massage. A reduction in depression and anxiety was seen after two-weeks of intervention. The authors’ conclusion states that aromatherapy massage is an effective therapy for patients with cancer, in order to reduce their symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety.
Whether you are suffering from breast cancer, ovarian, mesothelioma or leukemia; there is potential benefits for all in massage therapy. Consult your doctor today and see if massage therapy will work for you. What are you waiting for? Go indulge in a massage today!