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Cancer Massage Certification

Approved for 8 Online Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU's) for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists

Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.



Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience. 

Introduction
History
Summary

More people are surviving cancer than ever before. This is due in part to the awareness of symptoms and early detection as well as the availability of treatment options. Of the more than 10 million cancer survivors in the United States, three fourths will develop long-term effects from the cancer and the treatments for cancer.1 When faced with a diagnosis of cancer, many people seek information about cancer and the treatment options, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). With this information they are better able to make informed decisions and have some input into their health care. One complementary therapeutic choice for people with cancer is massage therapy. Although massage should never replace conventional treatments, it certainly can be integrated into any health care plan.

Oncology is the study of cancer and its treatment (Figure 3-1). For each oncology client there are unique circumstances surrounding the disease and its treatment. A client’s needs depend on many factors, including age, socioeconomic status, general health, and family support, as well as the phase and severity of the illness. Cancers are different, treatments for cancer are different, and the side effects of treatments are different. Cancer is not static—it goes through changes—and the people with cancer go through changes. Reactions of the body, mind, and emotions differ from person to person. Additionally, changes occur from week to week for oncology clients in the way they feel and the way their bodies respond to the disease and the treatments. The pain that arises from having cancer and/or the cancer treatment varies depending on the cancer location, extent, and side effects. If any vital organs are compromised, this could contribute to pain experienced by clients.

The diagnosis of cancer can be devastating, and the situation may seem hopeless. When people feel hopeless, they are often willing to try numerous approaches to recover and get well. A significant number of people with cancer use CAM to relieve symptoms and reduce treatment side effects.2,3

Massage is a welcome invitation for most people, although cancer is neither welcome nor invited. When cancer has sabotaged a person’s life, massage is one 41method of soothing the body, mind, and spirit. Massage is now valued in the treatment of cancer and has synergistic effects on the body’s healing response.

On the cover of the August 1997 issue of Life magazine is a beautiful photograph of a woman’s bare shoulder being touched by massaging hands.4 The words accompanying the photograph read, “Massage feels good. It also reduces stress, eases back pain, fights anorexia, lifts depression and saves lives—the Healing Power of Touch.” The article inside described the research being conducted at the time and how touch made a difference in the growth and development of infants. Additionally, the research revealed the reciprocal effects of relaxation and decreased stress for the givers of massage. This article was instrumental in increasing awareness about the benefits of massage. In addition, it brought increased respectability to massage as a therapeutic modality.

For years, Swedish-style massage was contraindicated for people living with cancer because it was believed massage could spread cancer through the lymphatic and circulatory systems.68 This myth was challenged in the 1990s with the publication of Massage Therapy and Cancer by Debra Curties and Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People Living with Cancer by Gayle MacDonald.5,6 Thanks to the research, it is now known that massage therapy will not cause cancer to metastasize or spread. The lymphatic and circulatory systems both constantly move fluids with or without massage. If cancer is going to metastasize, it will do so whether massage is administered or not.8

About the same time, certain hospitals began to embrace massage therapy for cancer patients, and the interested hospitals hired or contracted with therapists. It took massage schools and training programs longer to let go of the myth that massage could spread cancer. Even today, some massage schools do not teach that massage is indicated for individuals with cancer.

Techniques for massage for cancer clients depend on many variables, each of which can affect the others. In essence, the techniques are based on three variables: The first is the cancer itself (including site, type, grade, and stage). Second, techniques are also adapted based on cancer treatments, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Third, techniques for the massage are tailored to the unique characteristics of the client, including age, mobility, physical feelings of health, and emotional well-being. Massage therapists use knowledge, training, and discretion to administer the most appropriate massage for the specific client.

People diagnosed with cancer experience dramatic life changes. A journey of endurance begins, which becomes emotionally, socially, and physically painful and frightening. Cancer is a diagnosis no one chooses—yet treatments are available in both conventional medicine and complementary medicine. A holistic approach in caring for the client yields the greatest benefit.

Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.



Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience.