This post comes from MD Anderson’s Blog Cancerwise and was written by Siri Sumler, massage therapist at MD Anderson’s Integrative Medicine Center. It’s a great article on finding a qualified massage therapist.
Wondering how to find a massage therapist who will take your cancer-related concerns into consideration during your massage? Here are some tips to help you find a trained massage therapist who can address your cancer and cancer treatment-related needs.
1. Consult your oncologist.
To ensure coordinated and safe care, speak with your primary oncologist before having a massage. Your doctor can address any concerns. If your doctor thinks massage can be integrated into your care plan, ask him or her to request massage services for you from MD Anderson’s Integrative Medicine Center through online consults.
Looking for massage therapy outside of Houston? Ask your doctor for a written order that you can give your local massage therapist.
2. Find a licensed massage therapist who specializes in working with cancer patients.
It’s important to find a therapist with the appropriate education. Minimum requirements are a massage license and 24 hours of training in oncology massage, including a basic study of cancer, treatments, side effects, patient challenges, massage technique modifications, and hands-on practice.
Visit The Society for Oncology Massage’s website to find oncology massage therapists who meet basic training and practice standards.
3. Ask how they’ll modify massage for you.
Ask the massage therapist what modifications he or she will make for you. They may need to adapt the massage pressure, bodywork technique, or treatment position based on your cancer and cancer treatment-related side effects.
4. Note what type of questions they ask you.
A massage therapist who is trained to work with cancer patients will ask about your diagnosis, treatments, diagnostic tests, blood values, symptoms, activity level and any restrictions you may have.
Oncology massage is safe and effective at helping people feel better during challenging times. Find a qualified massage therapist, and you’ll be on your way to a peaceful reprieve from the stress of cancer.”
** Last year, I wrote an article on organizations that offer FREE massage for cancer patients. Click HERE to see this partial listing. If you know of other organizations offering this, please post a comment on my site. Knowledge is power… let’s share the power!
** Also, check out the Society For Oncology Massage (S4OM)- they have a FREE national locator service that will help you find the right therapist for your needs.