targeted, results oriented therapy
Some years ago, it was believed that massage therapy affected the circulatory system and in doing so, could possibly increase the spread of cancer cells and metastasis. When I was in Massage school 15+ years ago, doctors were still cautioning their patients against massage therapy especially during chemotherapy and radiation. Today, Oncologists are urging their patients to seek out alternative measures to improve their quality of life during and after cancer treatment.
Massage offers the patient a vacation away from cancer, and it feels good. Doctors agree that it is good for their patients to step away from the hospital setting to have therapeutic massage, therefore decreasing their stress. Massage can reduce pain and muscle soreness. It promotes a sense of well-being and stimulates the immune system. Patients can and often do feel overwhelmed and anxious during chemotherapy. Fear and anxiety, plus depression are known to be decreased through massage therapy.
If you have already experienced therapeutic massage, then you know that it works. It is not magical although sometimes both therapists and clients may disagree. Being comforted and touched when you are in crisis mode is a very human thing. We may need to make adjustments during the session, to ensure your safety. This is why you need to be sure your therapist is qualified to do so. Although there is not a specific technique when it comes to oncology massage, there are modifications that need to be made and contraindications that must be addressed before you undergo a therapeutic massage. Some therapists require you to acquire approval from your doctor or the therapist may wish to have a consultation. The focus of the massage then is to manage your pain without adding to it, plus avoiding massage when the time or circumstances are not conducive for your safety and health.
I am now accepting clients with cancer into my practice. I have some experience already due to my prior employment with CHI Lakeside Wellness Center. Do No Harm was my motto then and kept both myself and clients safe. Now in my 17th year of practice, my clients are fairly diverse. Some come for relaxation, others seek out pain relief; young and old alike. You are an individual and you will be treated as such. No two people are the same so no two massages are the same. My goal is to meet you where you are and help you make improvements. Together, change happens!
Testimonial from Elaine B. (diagnosed with breast cancer, October 2012)
Dawn Wagner has been my massage therapist for about 4 years. I was referred to her by a work colleague when I was going through a divorce. She was one of the first persons that I told of my breast cancer diagnosis because I had standing appointments with her. The radiologist called at 1:30 pm that day and I was scheduled to see Dawn at 3:00 pm. When I called to cancel, Dawn was compassionate and understanding. And so began a different relationship, one as a cancer patient and massage therapist.
Approximately, 1 month into my chemotherapy, Dawn called and asked me to serve as her patient in a cancer-focused massage therapy continuing education class. I was happy to assist her in her furthering her training and education. We talked about mastectomy, port placement, hair loss, breast reconstruction, and lymphedema.
I take great comfort in knowing that Dawn fully understands the special needs of cancer patients post-treatment. Lymphedema is not a well-known condition to all medical professionals, but it is essential for massage therapists who work with cancer patients to understand the condition, contribute to the positive management of the condition and recognition of what could potentially make it worse in the course of a massage. Such topics are not routinely included in the massage therapy curriculum. Her skills as a massage therapist have contributed to my physical healing from cancer. I continue to see Dawn on a weekly basis. It is part of my physical and mental healing process. Healing from breast cancer or any cancer is a lengthy process and patients should do anything and everything they can to contribute to optimal healing.