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Oncology massage therapy

Oncology massage therapy, or massage adapted for people with cancer, is a form of support for people undergoing treatment for cancer or in remission. The massage aims to offer a moment of comfort and well-being to help them through this life challenge.

Oncology massage therapy is not exactly a massage technique, it is rather a care adapted to the specific needs of people suffering from cancer. People who have completed this training have acquired knowledge about the disease that allows them to assist sick people by considering their health status, their symptoms, their medical treatments and the side effects of these treatments by using the types of massage that they already master.


People with cancer who receive massage therapy care can gain many benefits, both physically and psychologically. For them, it is often a moment of happiness that helps them let go and allows them to escape the pain. The periods of cancer treatments can be indeed trying moments that the massage alleviates. Sensitized to the upheavals that the sick people go through, the therapists trained in oncomassage are equipped to support them during this life challenge.

Oncology massage therapy Réseau des massothérapeutes

In addition to providing a well-being, the massage is particularly effective for:

  • Acting positively on mood by reducing the effects of stress and anxiety on the body;
  • Providing relaxation to promote recovery and offer better support to the disease and treatments;
  • Relieving physical pain by soothing tension;
  • Alleviating some side effects of treatments like nausea or headaches;
  • Improving the quality of sleep, thus reducing mental and physical fatigue;
  • Increasing the level of endorphin hormones, a natural painkiller;
  • Reducing muscle adhesions as a result of surgery;
  • Decreasing edema as needed.


Before his first meeting with his therapist, the person wishing to resort to massage therapy should get authorization from his doctor. The therapist must be aware of the person’s state of health to provide adequate follow-up.

Because the purpose of the massage will vary according to the appointments, communication with the sick person is in fact at the heart of the support. In order to take appropriate action, the therapist will take the time at the beginning of each session to learn about the condition of the person and the course of his treatments in order to offer him the comforting moment he needs that day. This is a very important moment of the therapeutic relationship.

This is a very important moment of the therapeutic relationship.

During the care, the therapist will favor effleurage movements and gentle light massage techniques in areas that are not affected by the disease or treatments. A massage performed only on the extremities of the body like the hands, the neck as well as the feet can bring a lot of benefits.

Among other precautions, let us emphasize the care that will be given to the choice of massage gels and oils, since the skin of people who receive chemotherapy treatments can become sensitive. The therapist will also take the time to explain the non-dangerous nature of some possible side effects such as small bruises, swelling or muscle aches.

Some hospitals or palliative care facilities are now able to offer massages to people with cancer. They can also consult a therapist specialized in oncomassage. Depending on the circumstances, the care giver will adapt its care to the facilities of the work place, for example in a chair if the client cannot get around easily.


Although massage therapy is in many ways beneficial to people with cancer, it is best to avoid such care in certain situations. For example, if a person is prone to bleeding or blood clots, if  vessels are fragile or damaged, the care can then be summed up with very light effleurage movements. And as for all massages, it is better to refrain from massaging in the presence of fever, injury or an open wound.

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