When I first started in massage in 1987,
the golden rule was never massage anyone with cancer. Times have changed
and the golden rule no longer holds true. Working with cancer patients
can be the most rewarding, soul searching, emotional experience and
you may have as a practitioner.
Here are some guidelines to support you
along the way.
Research as much as you can about the type
of cancer your patient has. Find out what is involved in their treatments.
Talk with the patient. Talk with the patients doctors. Become
If they are going through chemotherapy or
radiation, research the drugs that are being used. Their bodies are
going to be destroyed by the drugs. They may experience nausea, vomiting,
fatigue, hair loss, skin changes, and an extreme fluctuation in emotions.
Fear will be with them through out the process.
The best thing you can do for your client
is be there and not interfere in their process or be judgmental.
Stand back and look at what they are going through and decide how can you
best support their process. If you step in and start suggesting alternative
therapies they might be overwhelmed. If they want something different
or more information they will ask. Just offer them the best massage
session you can. Listen to them. Listen to their pain.
Listen to their fear. Listening may be the best healer.
Be in constant contact with the client at
all times. What may have previously felt fine to them, may not now.
Ask them what they want - more pressure, less pressure or just a certain
body part. They may not want some areas touched. Their skin
may be more sensitive when going through chemotherapy or radiation.
Hands : Massage Therapy for People With Cancer by Gayle MacDonald