Oncology Massage

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Australia. In 2020, it was estimated that there were 150,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed and 50,000 deaths from cancer (cancer.org.au).


Extension of life expectancy and changing of lifestyle leads to increasing number of positive diagnosis cancer patients per year. On the other hand, development of medical technology raises cancer survival rate gradually, however, cancer survivors have to learn how to live with side effects from previous cancer treatments and drugs.

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Nowadays, we not just focus on curing a person’s cancer, but also pay attention on the patient’s physical, emotional, psychological, social stage health. It is all about enhancing the quality of the life.


Over twenty years ago, cancer patients were being told that they cannot have a massage at all, because massage can increase the circulation of the body which might spread the cancer cells. However, daily exercise was one of the most common recommendations to patients by oncologists. As we all know, exercise can increase circulation. Therefore, cancer patients not being recommended to have massage treatments was a misconception due to lack of understanding of cancer.


However, in the past twenty years, more and more medical studies and research have shown that massage has great therapeutic benefits for cancer patients, especially easing the side effects from chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and other cancer treatments. New South Wales Cancer Care suggests that massage is utilised as a pain management method (Medicine Hands, 3rd Ed, P6).


What is Oncology Massage?

Oncology Massage is a special massage technique that has been designed and developed for cancer patients and cancer survivors since 2008. It is a form of systematic touch, a skilled touch, a gentle and safe massage, and it is also an effective treatment for people living with cancer or with a history of cancer.


This specific massage technique, movement sequence, and touch are to increase relaxation response, which switches off pain feedback to the brain and chemical changes in the body.


Medical benefits of Oncology Massage include:


  • Increase relaxation

  • Reduce pain

  • Improve mobility of joints

  • Increase health muscle tone

  • Hydration of facia which increases transport of body chemistry

  • Decrease heart rate

  • Decrease blood pressure

  • Reduce cortisol (a hormone produced by stress)

  • Enhance production of serotonin (a hormone that stabilizes our mood, feeling, and happiness)

  • Normalize endocrine functions

  • Stimulate the production of B & T immune cells

  • Stem cells reproduction in the bone marrow

  • Increase red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets which improves immune system