Massage Therapy Beneficial in Oncology Care


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Research shows massage therapy can reduce pain, stress, nausea, depression, distress, anxiety and fatigue, while improving health related quality of life for cancer patients.

A meta-analysis of nearly 600 cancer patients found massage therapy significantly reduced pain compared to the conventional standard-of-care alone, and was particularly effective in eradicating surgery-related pain.

Increased Quality of Life for Cancer Patients

A 2014 study of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia who received 50 minutes of Swedish massage three times per week for seven weeks, found all participants experienced stress reduction, increased comfort and relaxation, while also tracking health-related quality of life (HQoL) compared to a group of usual standard-of-care patients.

An additional randomized study found providing therapeutic massage resulted in significant improvement in short-term quality of life for patients near the end of life, with secondary benefits of pain reduction and improved sleep.

Related: Cancer & Massage Therapy: Essential Contraindications | 2.5 Credit Hours

“Massage therapy can supply immense physical and psychological relief,” said Dr. Gabriel Lopez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “As evidenced by the wealth of positive research in the area, massage therapy has the potential to greatly improve quality of life for cancer patients and their caregivers.”

Read the full AMTA Research Roundup for details »

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