October 23, 2009, Newsletter Issue #102: The Healing Touch for a Breast Cancer Patient

Tip of the Week

In addition to the medical treatment and therapies recommended by your doctor, there are alternative therapies that can facilitate healing. One such method is massage therapy. Massage therapy is when a licensed therapist rubs or kneads your body's soft tissue to make it feel better. This rubbing and kneading stimulates nerves and increases blow flow, which will relax your muscles. The massage therapist can gently rub the surface of the skin, or rigorously knead deep muscle tissues, whichever you prefer. You may also choose whether you want to focus on a general area, like your neck or back, or have an all-body massage. Massage therapy helps a breast cancer patient on an emotional level as well as physical because it relieves tension and stress. Even the human touch will help a breast cancer patient feel better, as many people around you may treat you as “fragile”, or be afraid to touch you when your white cell count is down in fear of passing a virus to you. After treatment, a massage therapist can show you how to knead surgery scar tissue to help you become more comfortable with the tissue and make it softer to your touch. If you are presently in treatment, talk to your oncology team before you begin massage therapy. You doctor may have recommendations on what areas the massage therapist should avoid, and what methods the therapist should use. The American Massage Therapy Association (http://www.amtamassage.org/) will help you find a qualified therapist in your area. Massage therapy cannot cure breast cancer, but used as an additional therapy, it will improve your feeling of well-being and promote your overall feeling of wellness.

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