Massage Therapy During & After Cancer Treatment

shoulder injury rotator cuff

Oncology massage is the use of massage therapy techniques to safely work with people experiencing the complications of cancer and cancer treatment.  Anyone in active cancer treatment, in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, can benefit greatly from oncology massage. It can enhance quality of life by improving relaxation, sleep, and immune function, as well as relieving anxiety, pain, fatigue and nausea.

Safe oncology massage requires advanced training in appropriate clinical assessment and modification of massage therapy techniques. Carolyn Cormier, Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), has completed advanced training in multiple specialized techniques specific to dealing with complications associated with cancer treatments.

When working with individuals experiencing cancer treatment, or complications after cancer treatment, a Massage Therapist must have the knowledge and ability to assess contraindications, medication, and therapy side effects. Therapists must also be able to assess the appropriate level of pressure to use in an oncology massage treatment, know which techniques involving tissue manipulations would safe and effective, and know how to massage clients at risk for lymphedema (a side effect of surgery or radiation to lymph nodes).

Lymphedema is a significant complication that can develop after a breast mastectomy.  Participating in a supervised, light, weight training program can reduce your chances of developing this by as much as 50%.  The Strength After Breast Cancer program is an evidence-based rehabilitative exercise program for breast cancer survivors that can prevent lymphedema.

If swelling or lymphedema do develop, as a certified Lymphedema Therapist, Carolyn can provide decongestive treatment involving integrated lymphatic drainage, and various bandaging techniques to prepare the client to be fitted for a compression garment if needed.  Carolyn is also an authorizer for the Ministry of Health Assistive Devices Program for Lymphedema garments and can assist with completion of the paperwork requirements.

Carolyn’s comprehensive treatment plans include (as appropriate): myofascial and scar tissue release, Integrated Lymph Drainage, treatment of Axillary Web Syndrome, specific range of motion exercises, self manual drainage, education about the risks of developing Lymphedema and how to diminish those risks, and the Strength After Breast Cancer program. If you have any further questions, book an appointment for an assessment with Carolyn Cormier RMT, certified Lymphatic therapist (CDT).