Massage therapy has become an integral part of healing for many cancer patients. It is a therapeutic regimen recognized by leading cancer centers nationwide. It is offered in hospitals, infusion centers, patient rooms, and in patient homes. Training for cancer massage is available, and for practitioners, it is a rewarding experience.
Types of Massage Therapy
There are several types of massage therapy used with cancer patients, including:
- Swedish: This type of massage is designed for reduction of stress and promotes increases in blood circulation. It uses long, flowing strokes to relax and stretch muscles. Muscles that are tense restrict blood flow and promote fatigue. By releasing muscle spasms, normal function and tone can be restored.
- Shiatsu: This type of massage, which originated in Japan, focuses on pressure points massaged lightly with the fingers, thumbs, elbows, knees, hands, and feet to improve circulation and restore energy.
- Myofascial release: This form of massage includes gentle sustained pressure and strokes to soft tissue to help relieve pain and restore motion.
Aside from the usual training required for massage therapists, there are specialized programs for cancer massage therapists. Such specialized training is often worked into curricula or offered as continuing education classes. Practitioners are taught specific ways to address the needs of cancer patients.
Cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery all present hurdles for the patient to overcome. Some benefits offered by massage therapy are:
- Increased circulatory and digestive function: Radiation and chemo take a toll on both, and massage can work to undo some of the imposed limitations. Not only is the body able to absorb nutrition better after the massage, but circulation is also improved.
- Relaxation: Massage promotes total body and mind relaxation. It allows the patient to embrace the overall effects of massage without feeling tense. Many patients report that this enhances their mood throughout the day.
- Relief of the effects of peripheral neuropathy: Chemotherapy causes peripheral neuropathy. This results in pain, tingling, and numbness in the affected area. Massage relieves the symptoms of this neurological condition.
- Surgical rehabilitation: Surgery has a negative effect on the tissues surrounding an incision. This restricts blood flow and sensation and leads to scarring. Massage is known to promote healing and increase the flow of blood to the area, resulting in the return of normal function.
- Enhanced emotional response: The touch of the human hand is known to promote emotional well-being. Thus, a trained cancer massage therapist can help a cancer patient regain emotional health after and during cancer therapy.
Continuing Education for Massage Therapist Practitioners
Beauty Academy offers a series of continuing education courses in Washington, Oregon, and Montana that help massage therapists provide excellent service to cancer patients. These courses include:
- The Practice of Massage Therapy: This course covers four hours of continuing education and, if taken individually, costs $25.00.
- Massage Techniques for Specific Areas: This CE course covers four non-contact hours. If taken separately, it costs $25.00.
- Massage Techniques for Cancer Patients: This course covers four non-contact hours and costs $25 if taken alone.
There is also a bundle of all three courses (The 12-Hour Course Bundle) that includes all three of the courses listed above for a special savings of $50.00. You are actually paying for two courses and taking all three for the same price.
Taking the Course and the Exam
Once you decide to take the course, you are able to preview and download it and see the exam online. After you’ve read through the material, you can purchase the course and you will be provided a link where you can take the exam. This link will also be emailed directly to you.
If you have questions about the course or exam just call us at (888) 290-9739. We are available to answer your question by email also. Massage therapy courses can be accessed here.