Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients
Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases and is the leading cause of premature death for people between the ages of 35 and 64. Massage therapy is one treatment option and has been found to help cancer patients. Massage does not treat cancer per se, but it reduces pain, promotes relaxation, reduces tension and improves the overall quality of life.
Massage also supports blood and lymph flow. Lymph is essential because it helps the body get rid of harmful substances. The lymph glands are part of the immune system and regular massages improve the flow of lymph throughout the body. Here are two benefits of massage therapy for cancer patients.
Reduce Pain Perception
Pain and cancer go hand in hand and most patients rely on a number of approaches to feel better, drastically improving their quality of life. A study by Ferrel-Torry & Glick found that regular massages reduce pain perception by about 60%, improve relaxation by 58% and decrease anxiety by 24%. According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, massage therapy improves immune function and increases the amount of natural cancer killer cells in the body.
Massages are usually used in conjunction with other therapies and are important in a comprehensive treatment approach. Massages bring a temporary feeling of relief and increase mobility, rehab injured muscles and reduce pain. Some believe that regular massages enhance the body’s release of endorphins. In addition, massage improves lymph flow and helps the body get rid of wastes such as lactic acid. Finally, massages loosen mucus in the lungs and help relive arthritis, colds and constipation.
Types of Massage for Cancer Patients
Several types of massage are currently used for cancer patients. Swedish massage is the most popular, but deep tissue, trigger point, reflexology, cranial sacral and others can be very beneficial as well. All of these techniques are similar because therapists use their hands, elbows or tools to manipulate the body. The strokes and areas of focus vary depending on the type of massage and client’s needs.
Massage therapy offers hope to cancer patients and provides a number of health benefits. Regular massages are usually used in conjunction with traditional treatments. Consult your doctor and find a massage therapy that will be beneficial to you and your treatment!
This post was submitted to us by Melanie Bowen. Melanie joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2011 as an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives. She has a passion for highlighting the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional and physical treatments for those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.
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