With modifications and care, massage can be appropriate for nearly all clients in their journey before, during, and after cancer treatments. For many clients, symptoms from surgeries and treatments can persist for years, creating a need for educated massage that is conscious of restrictions, compromised body systems, and medication side effects. I’ve pursued advanced training as well as interning at Boston Medical Center in order to provide safe and effective massage for clients with complex health histories. Massage may be helpful for many of the symptoms accompanying cancer treatment, including pain, nausea, and fatigue, as well as potentially decreasing anxiety and depression. Many clients simply look forward to regular massage as it feels good and provides a welcome break from uncomfortable medical procedures and stress. It is also an amazing gift to give to caregivers!
Oncology massage differs from regular massage in that sessions are often shortened based on your energy level, special bolstering and positioning is used to compensate for painful areas and medical devices, massage pressures are reduced so as to avoid taxing the body systems, and permission from your doctor may be required in addition to a detailed health history intake.
Manual Lymph Drainage/Lymph Drainage Therapy
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a very gentle technique intended to improve lymphatic flow through the body as well as aid in re-routing congested or damaged lymphatic areas. By improving lymphatic flow, MLD may be helpful for a variety of conditions including post surgical swelling, sports-related injuries, autoimmune disorders, migraines, and seasonal allergies. MLD is also extremely relaxing and soothing to the nervous system so may be helpful for sleep quality, anxiety, and chronic pain. MLD can be a useful tool in managing mild lymphedema secondary to lymph node removal or damage, although it has temporary effects and many folks require ongoing self care and compression to manage long-term. More advanced lymphedema cases will benefit most from seeking treatment with Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), followed by maintenance MLD, compression garments, and bandaging. I do not offer bandaging or CDT but can direct you to another local practitioner (PT or OT) who does.
Manual Lymph Drainage differs from traditional Swedish massage in that it is always done with a light touch, it follows very precise sequences of movement, and it is done without the use of creams or oils. I enjoy educating clients about the benefits of lymphatic drainage and am always happy to answer any questions you might have regarding it.
I practice an integrative, perceptive approach to massage, utilizing skills learned in massage school, continuing education courses, and from hands-on experience with the many clients I’ve had the honor of massaging. My massage style is grounded in Swedish massage techniques with a continuous flow to the massage session. I may incorporate in passive and gentle resisted stretching or deeper tissue work but I don’t believe that massage should be painful in order to be effective. In fact, if something hurts while you are on my massage table, I want to know so we can adjust the approach or positioning and find a place of ease without pain. I strive to work with the body, never against it. I also believe strongly in the therapeutic aspect of deep relaxation and nervous system soothing – for many clients this is the focus of the massage – unwinding and letting go of life stresses while on the massage table.
This type of massage is ideal for nearly every client, as it can be endlessly customized. I enjoy working with a broad range of clients from those simply seeking relaxation, active folks in need of focused work, desk dwellers seeking relief from work-related tension patterns, and clients just beginning their self-care journeys. ALL bodies are welcome on my table and EVERY body deserves safe massage.