Massage for Breast Cancer Patients
Apr 30, 2015 12:49PM
● By Stephanie Dixon
With benefits like better sleep, decreased pain and increased comfort, massage and manual lymph drainage can be useful additions to the standard treatment for a breast cancer patient receiving chemotherapy and surgery.
A massage can address the anxiety and distress that cancer brings, improving sleep, enhancing well-being and decreasing fatigue. Massage also helps ease physical pain associated with chemotherapy. A 2003 study done at the University of Minnesota showed that patients who received massage therapy reduced their need for pain medicine. Massage can also decrease the incidence of depression in cancer patients.
Another benefit from massage is decreased swelling due to lymphedema. When a patient has a mastectomy, lymph nodes are removed and fluid accumulates in the arm. At times, swelling can be so severe that range of motion is lost. Massage therapy from a therapist with training in manual lymph drainage can decrease the swelling by manually moving the fluid out of the arm. Many therapists will also show their clients self-massage so they can do it at home when necessary.
Stephanie Dixon, LMT, CNMT, is a licensed massage therapist who works out of a private studio and specializes in pain management and rehabilitation. Connect with her at 520-775-2367, [email protected] or NewLeafTucson.com. See ad, page 34.