and Chemotherapy


Is 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.

Can 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.


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 


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.

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.

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 Dr. or other

 health professionals.

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.


Daily, detailed self-care is essential in order to improve or reverse the tissue damaged caused by

 peripheral neuropathy.