The Healing Touch: Oncology Massage Benefits for Cancer Patients and Survivors

oncology massage can provide healing touch

Massage therapy is a well-known method for promoting relaxation, relieving tension, and improving overall well-being. However, when it comes to individuals with cancer (or a history of cancer), a specialized approach is required to ensure optimal safety and comfort. In this blog, we'll explore the key differences between traditional massage and oncology massage and highlight the numerous benefits that oncology massage can offer to cancer patients and survivors.

Cancer is a formidable adversary that affects millions of people around the world. For those battling this disease, the physical and emotional toll can be overwhelming. In the quest to provide comprehensive care, oncology massage has emerged as a powerful complementary therapy offering a myriad of benefits for cancer patients and survivors.

Massage vs. Oncology Massage: What's the Difference?

  1. Training and Expertise:

    • Traditional Massage: A typical massage therapist receives training in various massage techniques and is equipped to work with a wide range of clients. They may not necessarily have specialized knowledge about cancer-related symptoms and contraindications.
    • Oncology Massage: Oncology massage therapists undergo specialized training to work with cancer patients. They have a deep understanding of cancer treatments, side effects, and the importance of adapting massage techniques to meet the unique needs of each patient.
  2. Adjusted Techniques:

    • Traditional Massage: Traditional massage techniques may involve deeper pressure and more vigorous movements that can be unsuitable for cancer patients, particularly during active treatment.
    • Oncology Massage: Oncology massage therapists employ gentle and modified techniques, considering the individual's condition, stage of treatment, and any potential contraindications. These adaptations ensure that the massage is safe and comfortable.

Benefits of Oncology Massage for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Pain and Symptom Management:

Cancer and its treatments may result in various physical discomforts such as pain, muscle tension, and fatigue. Oncology massage can provide relief by reducing muscle tension, increasing blood circulation, and promoting the release of endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.

Stress Reduction:

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can lead to intense stress and anxiety. Oncology massage has been shown to alleviate emotional distress by promoting relaxation and reducing cortisol levels, the stress hormone.

Improved Sleep:

Many cancer patients and survivors struggle with sleep disturbances. Oncology massage can help improve the quality of sleep by relaxing the body and mind, allowing for a more restful night's sleep.

Enhanced Quality of Life:

By addressing both physical and emotional aspects of well-being, oncology massage can significantly improve the overall quality of life for cancer patients and survivors. It fosters a sense of normalcy and self-care during a challenging journey.

Improved Circulation:

Cancer treatments can sometimes affect blood circulation, leading to issues such as edema (swelling). Massage techniques can help stimulate lymphatic flow, reducing swelling and promoting better circulation.

Emotional Support:

The therapeutic touch of an oncology massage therapist can provide a sense of comfort, emotional support, and the opportunity to connect with someone who understands the patient's experience.

Self-Care and Empowerment:

Learning relaxation techniques and self-massage from a trained therapist empowers cancer patients and survivors to take control of their well-being. These skills can be used at home to manage symptoms and stress..


Oncology massage is a specialized and gentle form of massage therapy tailored to the unique needs of cancer patients and survivors. Its benefits extend far beyond relaxation, offering relief from symptoms, reducing stress, and enhancing the overall quality of life during a challenging journey.

When considering massage therapy for cancer patients, it is crucial to seek out a certified oncology massage therapist with the necessary training and expertise to ensure a safe and supportive experience. Oncology massage therapists received specialized training and they are knowledgeable about the potential contraindications for the patient's specific cancer and treatment. It's important to note that not all massage therapists are trained to work with cancer patients, and untrained practitioners can potentially harm individuals undergoing cancer treatment or those with a history of cancer.


November 2023: to introduce our patients and community to the benefits of oncology massage, we are offering TWO FREE oncology massage sessions at Nurturing Touch and Wellness in Sterling, VA.

TO ENTER: 1) email us at

OR 2) call our office at (703) 789-0367

Two lucky winners will be given the opportunity to try this wonderful service!!  *** Your Chance to enter ends 12/8/23.  Don't wait - enter today!