For the healthy customer, it offers relaxation. For a patient with cancer, massages can be used to help them through their treatment.
“They know that their body is different and that their body has changed, but usually after a massage, they tend to feel relaxed and happy,” said massage therapist Gloria Moreira.
Moreira helps patients at the Regional Cancer Center relax and work through some of the pain and symptoms caused by cancer treatment. “I’m happy that massages are helping patients, especially those who do suffer neuropathy,” she says.
Depending on the patient’s diagnosis and treatment, the massage may feel different than it would for a patient without cancer. “There are specific things you can’t do. There’s heat you can’t use in specific places depending on what kind of cancer they have. With chemotherapy, a lot of clients get really sensitive, so I know not to use a lot of pressure,” said Moreira.
Chemotherapy and radiation can cause the patient to be very sensitive to touch in certain areas—almost like a sunburn. Massage therapists can work lightly around the sensitive areas to offer some relief.
“If they’ve had a double mastectomy and they have the scarring, I know never to go down the arms. It’s always a downward motion, and then through the chest. That’s because there have been lymph nodes that have been removed and of course I don’t want to irritate that,” said Moreira.
Depending on their symptoms, the massages can help patients with neuropathy, pain, fatigue, nausea, and depression.
Massages can be beneficial to patients with cancer, as long as the massage therapist is trained in massaging patients with different diagnosis.
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