Oncology massage uses light touch and slow, steady movements, working with the central nervous system to help the body relax. MASSAGE THERAPY/ MASSAGE TECHNOLOGY therapists can make adaptations for site, pressure, and position. It differs from other types of massages because it does not focus on the movement of fluid it however uses gentle pressures to make connections with the tissue. Most massage types focus on the movement of blood and lymph, and this is sometimes contraindicated for these types of massage. Deep tissue massage, or any type of massage that involves strong pressure, should never be used if one is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. These clients may have a decrease in red and white blood cells, so there is a risk of bruising with deep tissue massage.

How oncology massage assists cancer patients

Medical research has shown that this type of massage can assist cancer patients during and after the treatment. It helps to counteract side effects of cancer treatment, emotionally and physically.

Benefits of oncology massage

  • It promotes better ability to tolerate cancer treatment side effects.
  • It assists with better sleep.
  • Helps to relieve headaches.
  • It limits chemotherapy-induced numbness
  • It helps limit chemotherapy-related nausea.
  • It alleviates chronic pain either from the cancer itself or treatment.
  • It eliminates stress and anxiety.


  • Infection: If someone is currently fighting an infection, especially if a fever is present, massage therapy should not be used.
  • Known blood clots: Massage should not be done for anyone who has been diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary emboli.

 Myths about oncology massage

  • Cancer cannot be passed to the person giving the massage.
  • Massage does not have to mean deep tissue, remedial manipulation of the tissues.
  • Not all cancer patients are fragile, some are coping with some very tough treatment.

In conclusion Oncology massage is a great way for MASSAGE THERAPY / MASSAGE TECHNOLOGY therapists to have an approach to massage based on compassion and specialized massage techniques to assist people in managing their experience with cancer.

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