There is new research that shows there are multiple benefits of massage in bowel cancer (also called colorectal or colon cancer) treatment which is generating a lot of new interest in massage. It is also sparking some probing questions about the possibility of whether it might actually contribute to treating the disease as well.
Massage therapy has long been known for its success with muscular and neurological treatments but the newest studies might now suggest that it could be beneficial as treatment for other types of diseases as well. Massage therapy as a complementary treatment for oncological disease is a relatively new idea that is still in its testing phases but there is already plenty of evidence that shows how massage can definitely be a therapy to help reduce discomfort and stress, ease pain, reduce nausea, and in turn, improve a cancer patient’s quality of life.
Massage Therapy in Bowel Cancer Treatment
Massage for cancer can be a very valuable way to ease the pains and troubles that are associated with cancer, the side effects that are most often associated with cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation treatment. It can also offer indirect relief for other issues that might arise for the cancer patient. The type of massage that is used will depend on both the patient preferences as well as the type of cancer the patient has. With patients who have bowel cancer, the tumour would be located either in the colon or the rectum so massage would not directly impact the tumour itself.
Considerations before Beginning Massage for Cancer
Before starting any massage treatment it is important for the patient to discuss the proposed therapy with their oncologist and GP to ensure that there are no contraindications and to determine how massage would be most beneficial. Many therapists are afraid to perform massage on a patient with cancer for fear that manipulation of the body and the cells may somehow spread the cancer. This is a false perception and there has been much research over the years to prove that cancer does not spread, or metastasize, by massage.
There are however a couple of precautionary considerations which should be taken before beginning therapy. Firstly, it is important that the massage therapist does not massage the tumour or any area where surgery was recently performed to avoid causing any pain to the patient especially if treatment is already underway. Secondly, a massage therapist who works on cancer patients should be specially trained in oncology massage which is a special type of massage and does require additional training and certification.
Relief from Physical Symptoms and Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
There are five major side effects experienced from traditional cancer treatments and the disease symptoms itself which have been reported to be eased by the use of massage therapy. The symptoms are:
These are all serious symptoms which the bowel cancer patient may feel. By providing a means to reduce the severity of these symptoms and the side effects, the bowel cancer patient can begin to feel more like a whole person and have an increased quality of life. In addition, the fact that these five symptoms significantly impact the patient’s feelings of wellbeing makes the cancer patient not only more susceptible to illness and poor mental and emotional health, but may also impact the patient’s ability to fight the cancer effectively.
Emotional/ Psychological Benefits of Massage for Bowel Cancer
While anxiety and depression are serious psychological symptoms and side effects of a bowel cancer patient’s treatments, there are also emotional issues which may arise that can be directly and positively impacted by massage therapy. One of these is the emotional healing which can be delivered through touch. When a person is seriously ill, the value and healing properties which may be delivered through the power of touch cannot be fully understood nor can they be underestimated. It is usually when a person is sick that they find the most power and compassion from another person’s healing hands and all too often this aspect is never really understood or given enough emphasis.
What we do know is that massage for cancer does provide relief from the physical symptoms of cancer and it’s treatments such as pain, nausea, stress, fatigue and depression. There may be other healing processes at work during a massage therapy session as well. The benefits of massage therapy in bowel cancer patients may have even more powerful and not yet fully comprehended effects. However, the information that we do know about its therapeutic results shows that it is a healing art which should be a part of every cancer patients treatment plan.
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