Frequently Asked Questions

Is getting a massage safe if I’ve been diagnosed or have had cancer?

Absolutely. Light, relaxing massage can safely be given to clients at any stage of their cancer journey. Massage can help with many of the temporary side effect of chemotherapy and radiation, lower anxiety and pain, improve energy, and decrease nausea.

Does massage spread cancer?

It is well documented that massage does not contribute to the spread of cancer. Some people worry that massage can spread cancer cells via the lymphatic system, the body’s immune system. Our lymphatic system is a network of nodes and vessels through which lymph or lymphatic fluid flows. Lymphatic circulation occurs naturally when skeletal muscles contract and compress lymph vessels to force the movement of lymph. Gentle massage does not increase this lymphatic circulation any more than exercising or gardening.

Can I get a massage while I'm receiving chemotherapy?

Massages during cancer treatment may not be for everyone. Be sure to get your doctor's approval before having a massage. While a massage may seem harmless, it can be unsafe under certain circumstances.

For example, since chemotherapy can compromise your immune system, you are more vulnerable  to infection. If you do undergo a massage, ensure that your massage therapist is not ill or suffering  from a contagious ailment. It's also important that the therapist maintains a hygienic, clean environment and sanitize the massage table after each client. Also, if you have any sores, acne, or other skin eruptions, ask your therapist to avoid touching them during the massage — this is to avoid pain and infection. Guidelines for receiving massage during chemotherapy include:

1. The ideal timing for a massage is the day before chemotherapy is administered. That's when the client usually feels best. If that's not possible, It is recommended to Wait 3-5 days after treatment depending on the client.

2. It's NOT recommended to work on the client mid-cycle. That’s when the blood counts can drop to their lowest, leaving the client vulnerable to infections.

3. Use light to medium pressure at all times to avoid overtaxing the body. Client's energy is low to start with, and cannot tolerate a lot of stimulation

4. Watch for external devices like a port and avoid the area. Chemotherapy is usually administered through an external port that is connected to the Subclavian vein. Avoid working around it to prevent contamination and other complications

5. Be aware of possible Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a common side effect during and post chemo. DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in a calf or thigh muscle. If  you suspect your client has this condition stop your massage and refer your client to a doctor or emergency room.

Can massage help my neuropathy?

Massage can help with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Your massage therapist can even teach you a self-massage protocol to help manage your peripheral neuropathy. A massage protocol is a daily, detailed self-care is essential in order to improve or reverse the tissue damaged caused by peripheral neuropathy.

How can we help your massage journey?

A letter from your oncologist about your diagnosis and treatment will assist your massage therapist to develop an appropriate massage plan for you. We will coordinate care with your doctor or other health professionals.