Oncology massage and acupuncture

A cancer diagnosis and the effects of cancer treatment can cause their own physical and emotional issues, including chemotherapy-related side effects such as fatigue, stress, pain (including nerve pain), nausea, and vomiting.

When coupled with conventional cancer treatment options, integrative medical therapy can provide relief from the stress and symptoms caused by the disease and the treatment it requires to cure it. Oncology massage uses a modified technique specific to a person who is living with cancer or has a history of it. Acupuncture can address many of the concerns that come up during and after conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, or surgery.

What is oncology massage therapy?

Oncology massage uses a modified technique specific to a person who is living with cancer or has a history of it. This comfort-oriented massage is tailored to each individual by including various adjustments, such as gentle touch or light touch and varying types of pressure. Length of sessions, positioning, and avoidance of affected areas in the body are also integrated in the massage. In addition, side effects from medications and treatments are considered so that the massage is safe and beneficial.

A licensed and trained oncology massage therapist understands how to address cancer treatment side effects and modifies massages to the specific needs of every patient. They can provide this type of massage at any stage of your cancer journey.

Comfort, stress reduction, and deep relaxation are some goals of this gentle, caring massage.

Therapist massaging leg of patient

Benefits of oncology massage

During all stages of cancer treatment, benefits of oncology massage might include:

  • Decreased feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Decrease in pain.
  • Deep relaxation.
  • Diminished side effects from cancer treatment.
  • Improved coping skills with conventional cancer care.
  • Improved mood.
  • Improved sleep quality.
  • Increased overall immunity, which is imperative to those suffering from cancer.

  • Increased self-esteem and overall well-being.
  • Overall improved quality of life.
  • Reduced anxiety.
  • Reduced depression.
  • Reduced fatigue.
  • Reduced levels of physiological effects of stress.
  • Reduced muscle pain and aches.
  • Reduced nausea.
  • Reduced tension.

How is acupuncture used to treat cancer patients?

Woman receiving acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture can address many of the concerns that come up during and after conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, and surgery. Acupuncture can reduce and treat several conditions, like the effects of chemotherapy or other conventional cancer treatments, and it helps relieve pain related to nerve damage.

A licensed, experienced acupuncturist uses and places acupuncture needles (thin, hair-like, sterile needles) on the ears, and upper and lower parts of the body. These needles are usually painless and help stimulate various nerve endings in the body. Research shows acupuncture is a safe, minimally invasive treatment for pain relief in cancer patients.

Studies indicate that acupuncture can cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses in turn can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is thought that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.

Benefits of oncology acupuncture

Some benefits of oncology acupuncture may include any of the following:

  • Diminished side effects from cancer treatment.
  • Increased awareness of mind/body connection.
  • Increased white blood cell count.
  • Improved ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately.
  • Improved immune function and faster recovery.
  • Improved management of emotional build-up, lack of sleep, and focus problems.
  • Overall improved quality of life.
  • Reduced anxiety and depression.
  • Reduced constipation and diarrhea.
  • Reduced hot flashes, night sweats and dry mouth.
  • Reduced inflammation.

  • Reduced fatigue.
  • Reduced insomnia.
  • Reduced mental stress.
  • Reduced musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.
  • Reduced nerve problems.
  • Reduced peripheral neuropathy.
  • Reduced post-operative or chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, especially in conjunction with anti-nausea medications.
  • Reduced severity of pain after surgery.
  • Treatment and reduction of acute and chronic pain.