Cancer Care Comfort Massage
(Comfort orientated massage for people living with cancer or other life limiting conditions.)
If you or a loved one is living with cancer you will know that it can be a powerful life changing experience. Often the cancer patient's whole world is turned upside down. Adapting to cope with the diagnosis, the treatment plan and any symptoms & side effects can be a huge mountain to climb physically, emotionally & practically.
So where does Cancer Care Comfort Massage come in?
Cancer Care Comfort Massage can make a huge difference to a cancer patient's world and help them adapt to a “new normal”. At a very basic level massage provides them with therapeutic, safe & comforting touch which is often a vast contrast to the treatments they are receiving. Massage can do so much more. By relaxing body and mind it can help relieve pain, soothe anxiety, lift your mood and calm nausea. Cancer Care Comfort Massage is very gentle & nurturing with the aim of “piecing the body back together” and restoring the client's faith in and acceptance of their body in it's new state. Put simply massage provides time for the client to JUST BE without any demands being made of him or her.
What does the treatment involve?
Cancer Care Comfort Massage is adapted to suit the client depending on a variety of factors including, diagnosis, stage of treatment, symptoms & side effects of treatment and energy levels. For example, a client undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer is likely to require a very gentle massage with the principal aim of allowing themselves to rest, thereby hopefully boosting energy levels and improving ability to sleep. They may require to lie on their side during the treatment to accommodate for any sensitive areas, for example, due a chemotherapy port in the chest wall, surgery or radiation. They may have had lymph nodes removed and be at risk of lymphadema and therefore care would need to be taken when massaging their arm(s) not to increase the risk. They may also be at risk of blood clots due to recent surgery and therefore care would be taken to look out for areas of redness, swelling & heat. If the cancer has spread to the bones then extra care would be taken to be particularly gentle in those areas. Hygiene regimes are also extremely important to ensure that clients who are immunosuppressed are protected as much as possible.
In Cancer Care Comfort Massage a term called “Inching Forward” is often used. This means that typically the therapist & client will take it slowly initially with gentle holding & stroking of the body. Only when Orla can identify that there have been no ill effects to the client of the massage will she be able to increas the pressure or duration of the massage gradually at the clients request. The aim is to have the client leave the therapy room feeling better. Deep massage during cancer treatment can often leave the client feeling much worse as the body is dealing with so much already. Cancer Care Comfort Massage can vary from a simple 20 Min hand massage for someone feeling weak & fragile to a 60 Min full body massage for someone post treatment and well into their recovery. Often simply placing hands and holding different areas of the body over blankets is all that is needed to encourage the client to rest. Great care is taken to ensure that the client is comfortable and warm.
Before commencing treatment Orla will carry out a very detailed consultation with the client covering the cancer & treatment as well as any other existing health and lifestyle considerations. Whilst you may be keen to start the massage as soon as possible, this is a very important aspect of the service and ensures that any treatment carried out is safe for you. A follow-up call or email is sent the day after treatment to check how you feel.
Is it safe to have massage if you have cancer?
In the past doubts have sometimes been raised about the safety of using massage in people who have cancer, with worries that it might increase the spread of the disease. Developments in cancer research have now shown that the spread of cancer is very much a biochemical process caused by genetic mutations and not something that can be brought about by mechanical means such as exercise or massage. However, it is important to note that that those parts of the body where there is known to be cancer present are not actively manipulated and massaged as the tissues here might be more easily damaged. Also, it is extremely important to seek out a therapist such as Orla who has experience of working with cancer patients and who is properly trained and qualified in Cancer Care Comfort Massage.
What training does Orla have in Cancer Care Comfort Massage?
Orla has had the privilege of training with Gayle MacDonald MS LMT from the USA, who is a renowned specialist in this field. Gayle has worked with cancer patients at Oregon University Hospital for over ten years. She has supervised massage therapists at the oncology unit, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and bone marrow transplant unit and she is the Author of “Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer” and “Massage for the Hospital Patient and Medically Frail Client”.
The course provided Orla with the information and experience to work safely and confidently with clients who have a history of cancer or are currently in treatment for the disease. The focus was on working with an open heart and developing the art of being present. Topics covered in the course included:
- Opening the heart to those with serious illness
- The basic physiology of cancer and metastasis
- The benefits of massage for those affected by cancer
- Adjustments necessary for those who
- have had / are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- have had surgical or medical procedures
- are at risk of lymphoedema
- Consultation procedure for people with a history of cancer
- Supervised session with a person living with cancer
For further information please see Gayle's website
Home visits may be available if the client is unable to come to the clinic, please enquire for further details. Gift vouchers are also available.