Oncology Massage Part 3: Recovery and Alternative Therapies

Recovery. This is the time when people start to get back up on their feet.

On top of continued check ups with a patient’s Oncologist and physician, there are a few therapies that they can look into to help recover:

  • Oncology Massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Reiki
  • Aromatherapy
  • Yoga
  • Writing and music therapy
  • Supplements

Note: Please talk with your doctors about additional therapies. Depending on the cancer and treatments, some therapies may not be the best.  This includes supplements.  Some can cause you to become sick, which makes recovery take longer.

Relaxing in a chair

Oncology Massage

“Why is Oncology Massage so light?”

The pressure, speed and location of the massage depends on your treatment.

With Chemo, lighter is always better as it decreases all the protective cells your body is supposed to produce.  A lot of pressure can lead to bruising and can do more harm than good.

Radiation is usually fine as long as the treated area is avoided, or has been completely healed from radiation burns.

Surgery is also another reason for lighter pressure.  Besides organs or tissues, lymph nodes may also have been removed.  This causes the lymph in the body to not circulate properly and can lead to Lymphodema.

Note: If a Massage Therapist is working on a client and their strokes are moving towards the section when lymph nodes are removed, that could cause an odd reaction in the body that may cause Lymphodema.  If you’re in this situation, ask the therapist to move their strokes away from the site.  This could save a lot of problems down the road.

Note: Make sure to look up an LMT that is trained in Oncology Massage.




Always tell any doctor, including Chiropractors, if cancer is in your history.  Depending on the cancer, the appointment could proceed as normal.  If not, the Chiropractor will tell you what can be done.

Personal Note: I believe TENS units, used in some Chiropractic Offices, are not recommended for people who have had cancer.


“What about Acupuncture and Reiki?”

Both are sometimes offered in Hospitals, as well as Massage.

Acupuncture has been known to help with symptoms of Chemo and promote relaxation.

Reiki is a hands off approach that helps promote relaxation through energy movement.

yoga pose2


Yoga allows for meditation, relaxation, and restrengthening a body that’s been through…a lot.

Note: Remember to always go at your own pace, and do not push your body past what is can handle.  Slower movements and less strenuous postures might be better to start with.

writing music

Writing and Music Therapy

As with any situation, some people handle their emotions and mental health by listening to certain types of music and by writing down their experiences and feelings.  Many keep these things private and this allows them a time to relax by themselves.


Aromatherapies and Supplements

Anything that deals with natural remedies is contantly being researched.  Every body is different, therefore, every body handles oils, vitamins, and minerals differently.

Personal Note: Ask your doctor about any natural remedies you may come across.  Some remedies can work against any recovery drugs your doctor might have prescribed/ recommended.


For other Complementary and Alternative Therapies, take a look at the list Cancer.gov has created: https://cam.cancer.gov/health_information/cam_therapies_a-z.htm


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