Living with malignant mesothelioma shouldn’t mean living without the simple pleasures life still can offer. If anything, living with malignant mesothelioma can make those simple pleasures all the more meaningful. And how very nice it is when medical science affirms that one of those pleasures – massage therapy – may actually be good for those living with cancer including malignant mesothelioma.
Massage therapy used to be considered just a New Age touchy-feely indulgence but scientific research shows massage produces measurable health benefits. Some of these have just been assumed to carry over to cancer patients from the general population while others have been tested specifically in cancer patients.
In fact, the overall benefits of massage therapy for cancer patients is now considered to be so well established that the American Cancer Society’s own website devotes a page to discussing it.
It states that studies of massage for cancer patients suggest massage can decrease:
A study investigating the benefits of massage therapy for the National Institutes of Health by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine on 380 patients with advanced cancer found that they experienced statistically significant improvements in pain relief, physical and emotional distress, and quality of life. The researchers concluded that massage therapy may provide some immediate relief for patients with advanced cancer. They also suggest that simple touch, which can be provided by family members and volunteers, also may benefit these patients.
Many health care professionals recognize massage as a useful, noninvasive addition to standard medical treatment. But consult your physician before undergoing any type of therapy that involves manipulation of joints and muscles.
Massage should be provided by a trained professional with expertise in working safely with people with cancer. It is important that the massage therapist know about your malignant mesothelioma and its treatment. Generally, gentle massage and bodywork can be adapted to meet the needs of cancer patients. Family members and other caregivers can be instructed in certain massage techniques as well.
A weekly massage can do a world of good for body and mind; and this can be especially wonderful for those suffering from malignant mesothelioma. Here’s how to benefit:
- Find a certified therapist. You can ask your doctor to recommend one or find one near you via the websites of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork and the American Massage Therapy Association.
- Many hospitals and cancer centers now offer massage to cancer patients. Check with your medical provider about whether your treatment facility offers this service.
- There are different types of massage therapy such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and Shiatsu or pressure point massage. Talk to your physician about which one may be best for you.