Is It Safe To Have A Massage If I'm Actively Undergoing Cancer Treatment?

Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D, Sloan

Question: Is it safe to have a massage if I'm actively undergoing cancer treatment?

Answer:Massage is a valuable intervention, a wonderful complementary therapy for patients who are undergoing cancer treatments. The caveat here, however, is to make sure that the massage therapist who touches you is trained to work with cancer patients. Massage therapy with a general public is a very different matter than massage therapy for cancer patients. We believe very strongly that all massage therapists who go near a cancer patient have to be trained. In fact, we offer three-day certificate courses for licensed massage therapists, licensed and certified massage therapists, to teach them how to work with cancer patients; how to work around lines and ports; how to understand hospital routine; how to know when it's safe to touch a particular part of the body. People come from all over the world to take these classes. We believe that no massage therapist who is not trained to work with cancer patients should touch a cancer patient.