What do you believe the benefits of massage and touch are for people undergoing cancer treatment?
Firstly, we need to rethink the word Massage. Massaging a client with cancer will not be your typical massage. Let’s not call it massage, instead of TLC; it’s GLT – Gentle Loving Touch!
Massage and touch are hugely important for people with cancer and really should be an important part of a treatment plan for anyone in physical or emotional pain. Most of the touch patients receive during their illness (albeit with the intention of improving their health) will be invasive, investigative and often painful. A massage doesn’t have to be by a professional, the loving touch of a family member can be even more effective and simple techniques can be easily learnt on sites like this.
When should people start having massage therapy?
A lot of Hospitals will not recommend massage during cancer treatment, but you’ll find that every Cancer support centre around the country does offer massage as part of their free care package, However they usually require a letter of consent from a doctor. It will not be a typical massage, it will be very bespoke and individual. Although for someone recently diagnosed, it may be more typical but much gentler with the emphasis on relaxation & emotional wellbeing, for those who have numerous & painful tumors, it may be as simple as a head massage or a foot massage. When a person is in a lot of pain, experiencing pleasant feelings in their body can be a huge relief. For those who are very ill or dying, a “massage” can simply be intentional hand holding.
In your treatment of cancer patients, what do you notice they go through throughout the journey and how does massage help?
Fear is the single most over-riding emotion that anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer has to face; fear of losing their life, fear of pain, fear of disability. Massage can relax and give relief from pain & stress it can give clarity from fear enabling more positivity. Touch can open a person’s heart when they are struggling to keep everything together and the release of emotions can make room for communication as honest communication between loved ones is deeply healing & reassuring.
I imagine it helps the emotional journey too, what are your thoughts on this? I hope I’ve answered this question throughout as I couldn’t answer it separately as massage’s single most important benefit is to the emotional wellbeing of someone who is in pain, sick & fearful.
Thanks to the Dublin Holistic Centre for this piece.
Please donate to the Cancer Society if you can. #paintitpink