Special Massage Considerations for Cancer Patients

Special training in oncology massage and medical massage delivers more relief, according to these local providers.




The Society of Oncology Massage (s4om.org) defines oncology massage as the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. Anyone that has ever received cancer therapy, including active treatment, recovery or hospice care is best served by a massage therapist with training in oncology massage.

Their skill comprises an informed understanding of cancer and the ways it can affect the human body, the side effects of cancer treatments—medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation—and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.

Rocco Petitti, owner of No-Body’s Perfect Massage Therapy, in Scottsdale, states, “Oncology massage is a way of adjusting techniques, such as Swedish massage, acupressure, reflexology or Trigger Point Therapy in a way so that they are less demanding on a person in treatment. The focus is placed first and foremost on not overtaxing the client's limited energy and provide them with relaxation and comfort. It is in this place of rest that healing occurs.”

Pettiti is a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist with 1,500 hours of training and more than 12 years of experience, including a 300-hour certification in oncology massage through the Peregrine Institute, in Santa Fe, and 50 hours of training in oncology massage from an Eastern medicine perspective with Dr. Sandy Canzone and Gayle McDonald there.

For appointments, call 602-740-2409. For more information, visit ScottsdaleOncologyMassage.com.

Somewhat related to oncology massage, Agave Massage offers certified massage therapy with more than 25 years of experience. They specialize in professional, certified medical massage, reflexology, massage for fibromyalgia, sound therapy, cranial-neuro therapy for longevity and clinical aromatherapy.

Kena McClure, RN, LMT, specializes in medical massage, with certificates in aromatherapy, sound therapy and natural medicine. Her training includes professional nursing, professional massage, certificate in medical massage, in aromatherapy and sound therapy. She is a certified bioenergetic practitioner and wellness consultant and an active member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

Location: 3226 N. Miller Rd., Ste. 4, Scottsdale. For appointments, call 480-703-7991 or visit AgaveMassage.com.

Healing Arts Connection, in Phoenix, hosts a nationally accredited three-day Oncology Massage Workshop that introduces touch practitioners, massage therapists and healthcare professionals to the bodywork considerations presented by an oncology clientele. Workshop time, shared between clinical considerations review and bodywork, prepares practitioners with the knowledge to provide clinically safe and therapeutic touch. Day three includes an oncology client massage and/or bodywork session.

This training helps providers understand the primary considerations in offering bodywork for oncology patients; evaluate bodywork sites, positioning and pressure modifications that pertain to medical devices, surgical procedures and drug treatment-related side effects; review current clinical research about massage in the oncology setting; and identify acupressure points useful in addressing common cancer treatment related side effects.

Healing Arts Connection offers workshops in touch therapies being provided in cancer centers throughout the country, such as reiki, reflexology and cranialsacral therapy. Practitioners of these complementary therapies can facilitate valuable healing experiences at any place on the treatment continuum.

The next class will take place from Oct. 13 through 15. For more information, call 623-215-7988 or visit How2Heal.com.

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