massage works Cancer and Massage

Gentle, conscious massage is not only safe, but has many demonstrated beneficial effects, such as enhanced well-being, decreased anxiety, nausea and fatigue. There is no data to suggest that it causes any harm to persons with cancer.

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire)

Skilled touch is beneficial at nearly every stage of the cancer experience, during hospitalization, the pre- or postoperative period, in the out-patient clinic, during chemotherapy and radiation, recovery at home, remission or cure, and in the end stage of life.
The benefits of massage for these clients include improved blood circulation, decreased swelling, equalized blood pressure, and help with fatigue and nausea. Scar tissue tightness caused by surgery or radiation can also be addressed.
The place to start is by consulting with your physician and your massage therapist. Cancer treatment places a heavy toxin load on the body, which massage can help eliminate. However, too much too fast may be more than the client's body can comfortably handle. For those who are 2-3 months out from treatment, gentler techniques will be used including manual lymph drainage, trigger point therapy, craniosacral treatment and gentle myofascial release. It's better to wait before receiving deeper work.
With certain types of cancer, lymph nodes will have been removed as part of the diagnostic procedure. Special care is taken to ensure proper lymph flow and monitor for any complications, such as lymphedema or axillary web syndrome, following this surgery. In a study of 380 adults with advanced-stage cancer and at least moderate pain, the researchers found that those who received massage therapy had greater improvement in pain and mood than patients who were touched in a manner similar to massage but without the precise motion and pressure a trained therapist uses. For these patients, even a little relief can mean a lot.
Battling a serious illness like cancer is difficult and isolating to endure. "Everything surrounding massage therapy -- a soothing environment, human touch which is essential to life, a caring therapist, the comfort of prolonged attention, relaxed muscles -- combine to make massage one of the most supportive and helpful complementary therapies available."

The American Cancer Society