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Oncology Massage

Essential aspects of an oncology massage therapist's skill set are an informed understanding of the disease itself and the many ways it can affect the human body; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.

Oncology Massage Assessment

Clinical assessments and adaptations to the massage session for someone experiencing cancer or with a history of cancer treatment are critical to providing a safe massage. Standard oncology massage intake questions include those pertaining to:

  • cancer treatment history

  • tumor site or metastasis

  • compromised blood cell counts

  • lymph node involvement

  • blood clots or blood clot risk

  • medications (short and long term)

  • vital organ involvement

  • fragile or unstable tissue

  • medical devices

  • fatigue, neuropathy or pain

  • changes in sensation

  • late effects of treatment

Multiple studies now link gentle non-invasive massage for people affected by cancer with significant reductions in pain, fatigue, nausea, depression, and anxiety. Having cancer can be one of life's most stressful experiences. For many people, massage is an essential antidote to stress.

Oncology Massage Therapy

Oncology massage is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques. Anyone who has ever received cancer treatment, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist trained in oncology massage.

Having cancer can be one of life's most stressful experiences. For many people, massage is an essential antidote to stress.

The following modalities may be used in oncology massage support:

Cranial Sacral Therapy

The membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord comprise the body’s craniosacral system. This system extends from the cranium (the skull face, and mouth) to the sacrum (the tailbone area). Any restrictions in the membranes of this system can directly affect the central nervous system performance, causing a wide range of sensory, motor and neurological problems.

CranioSacral Therapy utilizes protocols of gentle and specific touch. Actions include compression-decompression, positioning and range of motion that support the central nervous system and release restrictions throughout the body.​  

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage MLD/C certified Vodder Technique "Academy of Lymphatic Studies"

Your lymphatic system is responsible for keeping your body’s tissues clean and healthy-and for producing the cells that kill bacteria, viruses and cancer cells.  Manual manipulation is the only effective way to ensure fluid movement throughout breast tissue.  Manual Lymphatic Drainage ensures that lymph has a pathway to drain, making breast massage more effective.


Lymphatic drainage techniques can counteract the effects a compromised immune system. It is often utilized for post-surgical relief of swelling and reduction of pain and inflammation. 

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