FAQ: Oncology Massage

By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist / Infant Massage Instructor / Oncology Massage Trainer

Length: 2 mins read (415 words)

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What is oncology massage?
It is a customized approach that based on both nurturing and specialized massage treatment for cancer patients / survivor. In cancer care, it provides skilled touch with caring presence to enhance quality of life regardless of its staging.

Does massage spread cancer cells?
Many argue that massage increases blood and lymphatic circulation which in return will spread the cancer cell. However, research has indicated that oncology massage does not cause any more of an increase in blood flow than exercise and normal physical movement. If EXERCISE is considered SAFE, then MASSAGE should be SAFE. In fact, many cancer patients find massage to be helpful in improving their overall psychological wellbeing plus giving some comfort to the symptoms while they are going through treatment for their cancer. Do find a qualified therapist in oncology massage to ensure that you are in good hand.


Is there any contraindication of oncology massage?
With appropriate modifications there are few absolute contraindications. Deep tissue adaptations for a person in active treatment and massage over the site of a tumor are however universally contraindicated.

Who is an oncology massage therapist?
Generally, it can be anyone who are empowered to help cancer patient with all the practical tools and knowledge. Anyone with or without prior experience in massage can be trained in oncology massage.

What will oncology massage help to fix?
Oncology/Cancer massage does not try to ‘fix’ anything. And unlike many massage modalities, it is not a series of techniques or applied protocol. Rather, it is the ability of the therapist to recognise and safely work within clinically established guidelines, given a patient’s/clients unique circumstances. Clinical research supports the use massage in reducing the perception of pain, and in the reduction of anxiety. Patient reported massage benefits additionally include improved sleep, decreased sense of isolation, enhanced body image, and increased feeling of well-being.


What is non-circulatory massage that an oncology massage therapist uses?
It is a variation and combination of slow and steady techniques from light effleurage and petrissage to single compression, passive movement of joint and even an act of holding.

Can oncology massage be applied for other medical condition(s)?
Yes, oncology massage therapist are equipped with the knowledge of not only different type of cancers but also other health conditions and will make adjustment accordingly. It is suitable for any life limiting or degenerative conditions that one may be experiencing.

Get in touch with me if you are interested to be an Oncology Massage Therapist.

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Ian Chow 周 奕 延

Your personal massage therapist

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