After a patient is diagnosed with cancer, feelings of devastation and stress may surface. Immediately after the patient receives his diagnosis, he will meet with an oncologist to discuss what treatment options are available. While traditional treatment practices include radiation and chemotherapy to eliminate cancerous cells, other common treatment options include lifestyle, diet and exercise changes to be utilized in conjunction with traditional treatments.
Now, however, more doctors are recognizing all of the benefits of healing massage therapy in those who have been diagnosed with cancer. However, massage therapy is used only simultaneously with traditional forms of cancer treatment and should not be used as a complete replacement of chemotherapy and radiation.
Studies have shown that massage therapy can help the body to work more effectively by increasing blood circulation and oxygen supply to the body’s healthy tissues. Patients have reported less frequent headaches and backaches, as well as fewer symptoms related to stiffness and arthritis. Researchers have concluded that regular therapeutic massage sessions can also promote an overall sense of well-being by improving the way the lymphatic system functions.
Mental Health Benefits
Because a cancer diagnosis can be extremely stressful and terrifying, the patient will most likely experience a variety of emotions. Due to the devastating nature of cancer, the patient is likely to suffer from depression but, with massage therapy, the patient may report feeling less stressed and have a good disposition overall. In addition, a decreased stress level can actually increase the patient’s chance of fighting of the cancer. When used in hospitals, massage therapy patients have reported feeling less pain and anxiety. These professionals have earned degrees from physical therapy schools and are specially trained to help reduce stress and promote healing through light exercises and other therapies.
Even though there are many reported benefits of using massage therapy in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment methods, there are some precautions that healthcare providers must take to decrease the patient’s risk of further injury or illness. A patient should not undergo massage therapy immediately after a surgery or treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. The massage therapist should also be well aware of where cancerous tumors are and avoid these areas when performing the massage. Massage therapy should also be avoided for individuals who have varicose veins.
About Massage Therapy
The setting and cost of massage therapy will vary depending on the patient’s healthcare facility and insurance. Most hospitals offer massage therapy as a complimentary service to cancer patients while some massage therapist have private businesses and may even make house calls. Across the country, the average cost for a one-hour session of massage therapy is roughly $60. The patient’s insurance company may cover the cost, especially if the doctor requires it as part of the patient’s treatment. However, the cost is typically transferred to the patient, thus becoming a large barrier for some individuals who cannot afford it.
While massage therapy will not cure cancer, it can help to reduce symptoms and can aid in other effective treatments such as chemotherapy and cancer. Studies show that massage therapy can help to reduce the stress and fear for patients recently diagnosed with cancer. It also increases the patient’s sense of hope while he battles cancer.
TherapistSchools.com offers students information on physical therapist salary and training, helping them locate the best programs to reach their goals.