Massage Therapy and Cancer

Touch is a biopsychosocial intervention, it is a tool to provide reassurance, relief, and reframing.

Touch is a biopsychosocial intervention, it is a tool to provide reassurance, relief, and reframing.

The RMT Education Project is an initiative that is working to promote the benefits of massage therapy to an international audience, here I have to put together a list of research papers relevant to the practice of oncology massage.

Massage Can be a Source of Safety, Comfort and Relief

It is estimated that 40% of cancer survivors use integrative approaches to manage symptoms and improve their well-being after conventional cancer treatments, this includes massage, acupuncture and yoga (Sohl et al. 2015). 

Oncology massage is a specialty where massage techniques are changed to meet the needs of people with cancer and undergoing cancer treatments. In this field of research, there is a growing body of evidence that massage therapy helps people with cancer physically and emotionally, and it can improve their quality of life (Hilfiker et al. 2018, Kinkead et al. 2017).

Movement for Movement

There is emerging research indicating being physically active during and after cancer treatment has many health benefits (Bouillet et al. 2015, Fong et al. 2012, Hilfiker et al. 2018Schmitz et al. 2010)

More to Explore

Canadian Cancer Society: Massage Therapy

Albini et al. (2016). Cancer Prevention and Interception: A New Era for Chemopreventive Approaches. Clinical Cancer Research.

Bjornard et al. (2018). Peripheral neuropathy in children and adolescents treated for cancer. Lancet Child Adolesc Health.

Block et al. (2015). Integrative Therapies in Cancer: Modulating a Broad Spectrum of Targets for Cancer Management. Integrative Cancer Therapies.

Block et al. (2015). Designing a broad-spectrum integrative approach for cancer prevention and treatment. Seminars in Cancer Biology.

Bouillet et al. (2015). Role of physical activity and sport in oncology. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology.

Brown et al. (2019). Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. JAMA Oncol.

Deng, G., & Cassileth, B. (2013). Complementary or alternative medicine in cancer care—myths and realities. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

Fong et al. (2012). Physical activity for cancer survivors: Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ.

Gentile et al. (2018). Cancer Pain Relief After Healing Touch and Massage. J Altern Complement Med.

Greenlee et al. (2017). Clinical practice guidelines on the evidence-based use of integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment. CA Cancer J Clin.

Godette et al. (2006) Can manual treatment of lymphedema promote metastasis? J Soc Integr Oncol.

Hilfiker et al. (2018). Exercise and other non-pharmaceutical interventions for cancer-related fatigue in patients during or after cancer treatment: a systematic review incorporating an indirect-comparisons meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med.

Kim et al. (2016). Neural regulation of cancer: from mechanobiology to inflammation. Clin Transl Immunology.

Kinkead et al. (2018). Massage therapy decreases cancer-related fatigue: Results from a randomized early phase trial. Cancer.

Langevin et al. (2016). Connecting (T)issues: How Research in Fascia Biology Can Impact Integrative Oncology. Cancer Research.

Listing et al. (2010). The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer. Arch Womens Ment Health.

Mao et al. (2017). Integrating Oncology Massage Into Chemoinfusion Suites: A Program Evaluation. J Oncol Pract.

Mustian et al. (2017). Comparison of Pharmaceutical, Psychological, and Exercise Treatments for Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Oncol.

Nijs et al. (2016). Pain following cancer treatment: Guidelines for the clinical classification of predominant neuropathic, nociceptive and central sensitization pain. Acta Oncol.

Padera et al. (2016). The Lymphatic System in Disease Processes and Cancer Progression. Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering.

Radossi et al. (2018). A systematic review of integrative clinical trials for supportive care in pediatric oncology: a report from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, T&CM collaborative. Support Care Cancer.

Schmitz et al. (2010). American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable on Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Sohl et al. (2015). Cancer survivors' disclosure of complementary health approaches to physicians: the role of patient-centered communication. Cancer.

Stuiver et al. (2017). Which are the best conservative interventions for lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery? BMJ.

Thomas et al. (2016). Exercise-induced biochemical changes and their potential influence on cancer: a scientific review. Br J Sports Med.