Massage Therapy and Cancer


From Cancer Support of A2

It should come as no surprise that pain is the single most common complaint amongst individuals with cancer. This pain can cause physical symptoms (pain, nausea, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, lymphedema), as well as psychological distress (stress, anxiety, depression). Compounding the situation, cancer related pain can result from both the cancer itself, and the methods of treatment. Considering this, the question is ever present - how can patients address and manage this pain?

One proposed method to address cancer pain is through the complementary therapy of massage. Interestingly, massage being utilized in the context of pain relief can be dated as far back as 1600 BCE, with Hippocraties giving reference to its use and value. Massage exists in many forms, these include: body massage, foot reflexology, aroma, Swedish, sports, deep tissue, neuromuscular, shiatsu, and many more. As a complementary therapy; massage can result in blood vessel dilation, increased skin temperature, decrease in heart rate, and relaxation of both the mind and body. From this, individuals with cancer have often reported reductions in cancer pain, especially surgical-related pain, as a result of massage.

Although massage holds the opportunity to reduce cancer pain, it is important to always understand any risks that might be unique to you. Massage as a complementary therapy should be discussed and considered with medical professionals on a persons care team.

For those seeking to learn more about massage, the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor (CSC) will be hosting a free educational workshop on the subject. In a similar complimentary capacity, the CSC also provides free healthy lifestyle classes in-person and online, including gentle yoga, Zumba Gold, Tai Chi , guided meditation, and cooking for wellness for anyone who has been impacted by cancer. For more information and to sign up, please call 734-975-2500 or visit

Corbin, L., (2005). Safety and Efficacy of Massage Therapy for Patients With Cancer. Retrieved January 17, 2023 from

Lee, S-H., et all. Meta-Analysis of Massage Therapy on Cancer Pain. Retrieved January 17, 2023 from

Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients. Retrieved January 17, 2023 from…

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified