Massage Therapy and Cancer

Written by Crystal Schamber-RMT

The C word. Cancer. It is a very heavy word that can scare you and push you beyond your own limits. It is unfair, unkind, and mean. It chooses mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, babies, friends, and grandparents. It can choose anyone at any time, but I feel it often chooses the strong, the brave, and the courageous.
In the darkest of times, it still somehow manages to bring people together, to bring love and appreciation to these families. To share joy, love, and laughter. To make memories, to cry together, and to support each other. You learn about a new sense of community.
I feel very blessed to be able to provide oncology massage in my practice. I have truly met some beautiful and amazing souls who teach ME so much when they share their experience with cancer. These people are truly amazing. They are strong, they are fierce, brave, and courageous. However, they are also scared, in pain, and stressed. Everyone experiences cancer differently, and different emotions at different times.
Massage is safe for any stages of cancer, and I am very thankful for my patients that I am able to treat, who trust me to be a part of their care team. They allow themselves to relax and feel at ease, knowing I am confident in joining their community to help support them in any way I can. I admire my patients and feel very honored that they allow me (and feel safe enough) to provide massages for them.
Massage is not a cure for cancer (disclaimer), but it can be such an integral part of one’s journey, allowing patients to feel whole again, if only for a short hour. They can take that time away from such a scary reality, and just feel present, calm, and at ease. Massage for cancer is a safe and gentle treatment that can help individuals physically and emotionally, and can also improve their quality of life during their new experience. It can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. It can also help reduce pain (such as headaches, back, hip, or neck pain), anxiety and stress. It promotes relaxation and a sense of well-being, while also improving circulation. Studies have shown that regular massage treatments while experiencing cancer can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, fatigue, and pain. It can also help with bouts of insomnia, reduce nausea, and improve quality of sleep.
I am truly amazed and blessed for the experiences I have come across since becoming a registered massage therapist. The people I have met and treated, especially those experiencing cancer and their families. They have taught, and continued to teach, me new things every time I see them. About kindness, compassion, appreciation, new perspectives, and about endless love and support. And to all of them; I thank you. Thank you for allowing me into your lives and trusting me with yourself and your loved ones. May you continue the good fight with your head held high, and your hearts and arms open. And most of all, I wish you nothing but pure joy when it;s your turn to ring the bell!

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