Orange County Oncology Massage
combining science with heart-centered massage
Frequently Asked Questions

What is oncology massage?

An oncology massage is modified for the unique and changing needs of the oncology patient in active treatment, in recovery, or long into survivorship. There are clinical considerations that require adaptations and some of these are low blood cell counts, DVT risk, bone metastasis, compromised lymph nodes and presence of medical devices. Even years after treatment, those with lymph nodes that have been removed, radiated or tested are at life-long risk of lymphedema. A massage therapist who has oncology massage training has the ability to use information gathered from a person's medical history to adapt any number of existing massage therapy techniques to provide a safe, effective and satisfying massage session.  

Clinical research supports the use of massage in reducing pain and anxiety. People affected by cancer also report benefits such as improved sleep, decreased feelings of isolation, enhanced body image, and increased feelings of well being.

Many cancer treatments, in particular where lymph nodes have been removed or compromised, require immediate as well as long-term massage modifications.

Who can get an oncology massage?

Anyone who has a history of cancer can get an oncology massage. This includes those in active treatment or into survivorship. As mentioned above, if you have had lymph nodes removed, radiated, or tested, then you should ALWAYS request an oncology massage therapist, as lifelong modifications are needed.

What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage is for the expectant mother and can be provided at any time during the pregnancy. It can be a drug-free method of relieving the aches and pains of pregnancy. Massage can alleviate physical tension, such as excess weight on the joints, and emotional stress as well.

What can massage do for me?

Clinical research supports the use of massage in reducing pain and anxiety. People affected by cancer also report benefits like improved sleep, decreased feelings of isolation, enhanced body image, and increased feelings of well being.

Where will my massage session take place?

Your massage session will take place in my office or in your home. I offer you a choice of music that can be played to help you relax. You will lie on a massage table especially designed for your comfort.

Must I be completely undressed?

Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. You should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped during the entire session.

Will my therapist be present when I disrobe?

I will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet and blanket.

Will I be covered during the session?

You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be undraped.

What parts of my body will be massaged?

A typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, face, neck, and shoulders. If there are parts of your body that you do NOT want me to massage, let me know that and I will respect your request.

What will the massage feel like?

A relaxing Swedish massage is often a baseline for clients. Oncology massage is always gentle and soothing, with adaptations for compromised lymph nodes, presence of medical devices, or any other clinical considerations. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. I use a hypoallergenic, unscented lotion to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The lotion also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that I can adapt my presssure or take another approach. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.

Are there different kinds of massage and bodywork?

There are numerous types of massage and bodywork; various techniques utilize different strokes, including basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more. We can discuss which methods may be most appropriate for you.

What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?

Prior to the massage, feel free to ask me any questions or concerns you have about the upcoming session. During the massage, make yourself comfortable. I will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask.

How will I feel after the massage or bodywork session?

Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days.

What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?

Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.

Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?

Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before we begin your session, I do a thorough intake. It is very important that you inform me of any health problems or medications you are taking. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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