Which would you expect to be most effective for people dealing with cancer?
- Caring presence without touch
- Healing touch (therapist's hands near or lightly touching the body)
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Studies of all four options by the University of Minnesota and the University of Miami concluded that massage is the most effective.
The Miami study of 58 women with stage I & II breast cancer compared progressive muscle relaxation therapy with massage therapy and discovered that both groups felt less anxiety afterwards. However, the massage group reported reduced feelings of depression. They also showed an increase in immune system-boosting white blood cells and in dopamine, which is related to a sense of well-being.
The Minnesota study of 230 people with cancer found that those who experienced healing touch felt less anxiety and pain than those who experienced only the caring presence of a doctor or nurse. But those who received massage not only reported feeling less anxiety, they also needed less pain medication.
Using Massage Effectively
Check with your health care professional before beginning treatment, and be sure to alert your professional massage therapist if you've experienced or are undergoing:
- Breast surgery
This will enable your Massage Envy therapist to recommend the best type of treatment for your individual situation. No matter which type is selected, you'll experience the profound benefits of regular massage - including stress reduction, improved immune function, decreased anxiety and increased relaxation. This leads to better sleep and less fatigue, which will help make breast cancer treatment a more positive experience.