Using Massage as a Complementary Treatment for Cancer Patients by Eric Stevenson

Although the causes for many mental health issues remain unknown, a number of them seem to stem from traumatic or emotionally stressful situations.  For those with cancer and other chronic illnesses, stress, depression, and anxiety are common place. Unfortunately, some cancer patients have more of a difficult time coping with these complex mental issues.  Complementary therapies such as massage and other body inducing therapies have proven successful for a number of cancer patients.

Cancer patients are often struggling with anxiety and stress disorders, whether it is depression or a panic attack, many have found relief in complementary therapies. Often, doctor recommended relaxation treatments like restorative yoga, massage, acupuncture, and tai chi offer both physical and emotional relief. Patients who feel that their health situations are beyond their own influence are often empowered by the possibility of reducing their own pain and improving their immune systems through their efforts, thus allowing a bit of much needed emotional stability.

This use of massage and some other treatment therapies are aimed at helping patients find complete peace of mind and finding a rare relaxed state that they aren’t used to during the process. Using massage as a complementary treatment can help to increase a patient’s mobility, flexibility, strength, and muscle function. It can also be used as a relief to some of the side effects of routine treatment like chemotherapy. Massage has been shown to reduce treatment side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and pain. With complementary therapies, the major two goals are to improve quality of life and cut down on stress. Massage is an example of complementary therapy that can certainly help to do both of those for a patient.

Also, massage can be particularly helpful to patients of mesothelioma. One great cancer survivor story involves a patient of this disease named Paul Kraus. For most patients of this disease, treatment is brutal and mesothelioma life expectancy is short.  Kraus however had different plans in mind. After being diagnosed in 1997, he used a combination of a healthy nutrition with body inducing treatments such as massage, meditation, as well as a vitamin therapy to still be surviving 14 years after his diagnosis.

In all, complementary treatments, such as massage and other body inducing therapies have been shown to promote healthy mental and emotional coping strategies among cancer and chronic illness patients.  Though often proven beneficial, it is important that patients discuss all medically related decisions, especially complementary therapy options, with their physician before proceeding.  Though cancer is no easy physical or mental battle, emotional obstacles can be overcome through programs and practices that offer a patient the chance to reduce their stress and find peace of mind through the treatment process.

Guest blog written by Eric Stevenson, a health and safety advocate who resides in the Southeastern US.