Oncology Massage in Chamonix Mont Blanc

Oncology Massage in Chamonix Mont Blanc, France

Chamonix Mont Blanc is an alpine mountain town that attracts alpinists, mountaineers, extreme skiers, hikers, bikers, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a place synonymous with energetic health and well being. However, like in every place, some of us discover internal physiological challenges that can be life changing and can feel devastating. Cancer is, alas, a part of life in modern society in Chamonix, like anywhere, and it became part of my massage world when last year I was approached by two different clients at different stages of their hardcore journeys with colon cancer. Both individuals have been at the top of their game in mountain pursuits, from skiing to trail running, as well as in their chosen fields of work. I was humbled to accept this new role in supporting, through massage, their voyages, not in sports performance or summiting mountain peaks, but in grappling with the psychological and physiological challenges of confronting, being medically treated for and recovering from cancer.

Rainbow during storm, mountain peaks, nature, hope, tranquility
Mountain rainbows in Chamonix. The power of tranquility and relaxation during or after the storm.

I chose immediately to study with Susan Findlay, a specialist in Oncology Massage for decades, who is as passionate about physiology and the science of touch, fascia and biotensegrity as I am, and who runs online and practical courses in this very important field of massage – for people with cancer. I loved Susan Findlay’s approach to massage techniques, fundamentally focussing on the MELT method and “listening” to what the tissues are telling us, being “guided by” our clients’ bodies rather than “treating” them or simply applying techniques. This difference is crucial for any good quality massage, but all the more important in oncology massage, where whole body relaxation is key to aiding the quality of sleep, immune system and symptomology and where the body does not require further challenge from a massage treatment.

What is Oncology Massage and Why Is it Worth Booking a Treatment?

Oncology massage is a specialized form of massage therapy that is specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of individuals who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, have a history of cancer, or are in post-treatment survivorship. While the research on oncology massage is ongoing, several studies have provided evidence for its benefits. Some scientifically proven benefits of Oncology Massage include:

  1. Reduced Fatigue Symptoms: The American Cancer Society has cited once study, published in 2017 which concluded that  regular Swedish massage sessions dramatically reduced the severe symptoms of fatigue in breast cancer survivors.
  2. Pain management: Oncology massage has been found to help alleviate cancer-related pain. A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that massage therapy reduced pain and improved symptom control in cancer patients, including those with advanced stages of the disease. A further meta-analysis in Medicine, July 2023, has corroborated that massage can effectively relieve cancer-pain, as part of complementary healthcare.
  3. Improved sleep quality: Cancer patients often experience sleep disturbances. A study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research (2014) demonstrated that massage therapy, including oncology massage, improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue in patients dealing with cancer.
  4. Enhanced mood and emotional well-being: Massage therapy has been shown to improve mood and emotional well-being in cancer patients.
    A 2020 meta-analysis of research, shows, that whilst more studies are necessary,  “massage therapy can be effective in easing mood and reducing cancer-related symptoms, including depression, anxiety pain, fatigue, and so on.” One randomized controlled trial cited in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that massage therapy significantly reduced symptoms of depression in women with breast cancer.
  5. Reduced nausea and vomiting: Massage therapy, including oncology massage, may help alleviate treatment-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, according to various studies. One study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that massage therapy reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients.
  6. Lymphedema management: Oncology massage techniques, such as manual lymphatic drainage, have shown promise in managing lymphedema, a common side effect of cancer treatment.
  7. Reduced anxiety and stress: Research has shown that oncology massage can significantly decrease anxiety and stress levels in cancer patients. Some studies have purported that massage therapy reduces anxiety and improved overall quality of life in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Please note that further research would help to further validate these promising conclusions about the beneficial effect of oncology massage therapy.

Working with your Oncology Healthcare Team

It’s important to note that, while these benefits listed have been supported by scientific evidence, individual responses to oncology massage can vary. It is recommended that cancer patients consult with their healthcare team and work with massage therapist trained in oncology massage to ensure safe and appropriate treatment.

What is the difference between Oncology Massage and other massage?

The key difference between oncology massage and other forms of massage lies in its adaptation to accommodate the potential side effects, physical changes, and emotional considerations associated with cancer.

Important distinctions between oncology massage and other types of massage include:

  1. Specialized training: Oncology massage therapists undergo specialized training to understand the complexities of cancer and its treatments. They receive education on the physiological and psychological aspects of cancer, as well as specific considerations for providing safe and effective massage therapy to individuals with cancer. I, Ruth Martin, have trained and qualified with Susan Findlay on her specialised Oncology Massage courses.
  2. Modifications and adaptations: Oncology massage therapists adapt their techniques to address the unique needs of cancer patients. This includes adjusting pressure, avoiding sensitive areas, and accommodating medical devices, surgical sites, or areas of compromised lymphatic flow.
  3. Safety considerations: Due to potential medical complexities, such as weakened immune systems or risk of blood clots, oncology massage therapists have learned about the precautions and contraindications related to cancer and its treatments. They prioritize client safety and well-being throughout the massage session.
  4. Communication and collaboration: An oncology massage therapist will aim to work closely with the client’s healthcare team, including oncologists and other medical professionals. They may seek input regarding treatment plans, medication side effects, and any specific restrictions or recommendations for massage therapy.
  5. Emotional support: Oncology massage therapists are trained to understand the emotional impact of cancer and provide a safe and supportive environment for clients. With Equilibrium Oncology Massage, Chamonix Mont Blanc, each client can expect empathy, compassion, and recognition of the emotional challenges that individuals with cancer may be facing.
  6. Individualized approach: Each oncology massage session must be customized to meet the individual preferences and needs of the client, taking into account the specific cancer diagnosis, treatment phase, physical limitations, and overall health condition to provide a personalized and therapeutic experience.

If You’d Like to Book an Oncology Massage in Chamonix Mont Blanc

To discuss the options for oncology massage or relaxation massage to help relieve the discomfort of cancer symptoms or the stress of cancer care – in Chamonix, Servoz, Domancy, St Gervais, Les Houches, Argentiere, or Vallorcine, feel free to contact Ruth Martin at Equilibrium Massage on WhatsApp: +33-783-72-63-76 or email massage@equilibrium.fitness.





UTMB Trail Runner Sports Massage

UTMB Trail Runner Sports Massage

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, known fondly as the UTMB, is the largest trail-running event in the world.  It follows the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc crossing a variety of alpine terrain in France, Italy and Switzerland to circumnavigate Europe’s highest and whitest mountain – Mont Blanc. The TMB trail has a distance of approximately 171 kilometres (106 mi), and a total elevation gain of around 10,040 metres (32,940 ft), so it tends to take most hikers about a week to ten days to complete, staying in picturesque mountain huts (“refuges”) as they go. 

Each year almost 8,000 runners from all over the world come to Chamonix Mont-Blanc to participate in one of the UTMB event’s ultra trail-running races, of various distances and various routes. Even two weeks before the event, the Chamonix Valley pulses with the galloping hooves of ultra-runners, from serious amateurs to sponsored athletes, pounding her trails. UTMB 2022 officially happens from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th August. The UTMB 2022 calendar is totally packed, with loads of peripheral mini events, from trail running and adventure sports brands. Chamonix’s market place becomes alive with trail running stalls at the UTMB Village and shops all over town invite their pro athletes to meet and greet crowds, or even take runners on a few training laps.

During the UTMB race itself, starting this year on Friday 26th August, the fastest runners are expected to complete the loop in just over 20 hours! Most UTMB runners who reach the finish line (if they manage to finish) will take 32 to 46 hours – meaning that most runners will have to run through two nights in order to complete the race. It is hardcore.

The UTMB is widely regarded as one of the most difficult foot races in the world and one of the largest. It is one of several races during a week-long festival based in the Chamonix valley and is a race of the Ultra-Trail World Tour.

The training for any ultra trail running event is intense on both the mind and body. Athletes need to prepare seriously in advance, with training (have a look at the AlbonApp for trail running training plans set up by the indomitable Henriette and Jon Albon pro trail runners) , nutrition (you can pay for qualified nutritional support plans for ultra athletes from legendary mountain runner, CCC podium finisher and trail-pounding super-mum, Stephanie Howe… also check out local Chamonix nutritionist, Rebecca Dent) and even bodywork/massage  (this is something Equilibrium Massage can help with if you’re based or staying in Chamonix, Les Houches, Argentiere, Vallorcine, St Gervais or areas surrounding Mont Blanc). Post race? Absolutely, trail runners must take care of their bodies following any ultra-running event, with emphasis on active recovery, continued quality nutrition, plenty of sleep and, when possible, post-race recovery massages, to limit DOMS.

Training run through the woods at Gaillands, Chamonix

The freedom and beauty of trail running makes the sport fun and exhilarating, but the physical and mental effort makes it challenging.  There is uneven terrain and sometimes unpredictable obstacles, such as jagged, loose rocks, on steep trails. Unlike the relatively repetitive motion of road running, for trail running the body needs to be trained to adapt to every angle of movement, with a developed proprioception, mechano-reception and omnidirectional strength. This makes trail running an optimal sport for all round physical strength and resilience, but without adequate training and physical preparation, there’s a high risk of injury. It makes sense to prevent injuries before they happen – and this is where regular sports massage aids the body’s suppleness and fluidity, as well as helping the runner to mentally relax. The benefits of sports massage for trail runners and athletes are countless for both physical and mental wellness.

sports massage for trail runners
Ruth Martin works on pro-runner, Grace Staberg’s legs, post-training run

Sports Massage for Trail Runners

Sports massage is a genre of massage that is specifically tailored to help athletes prevent injuries and also recover from previous or chronic injuries. Sports massage can be used to treat various chronic tensions or over-use injuries, including strains, sprains, tendonitis, and shin splints. Furthermore, scientific studies  (e.g. Systematic Review Article, Front. Physiol., 26 April 2018, Sec. Exercise Physiologyhave shown that massage can help to reduce DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) that can otherwise interfere with regular training leading up to the event and certainly can be uncomfortable post-event without a post-race massage.

A good quality sports massage, incorporating myofascial release techniques, works on the fascial network, helping densified tissues shift from a more viscous/sticky/gel-like state to a more fluid sol-state (quoting Stephen Levin at Biotensegrity Interest Group about “Stretching,” 2021). In everyday terms, the sports massage helps to loosen and “warm up” muscles before a run, help to boost blood flow and circulation, which helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, and it can help to improve recovery time. Sports massage can help to reduce fascial tension patterns, reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, and as a result, a good massage can also help to improve range of motion and flexibility.

Sports massage is not only for the body. The mental benefits of massage can aid in relieving anxiety, stress and tension while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which increases the production and release of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and endorphins (Kuhn et al, 2005, International Journal of Neuroscience).

Sports Massage Therapist for UTMB Runners

Having lived and massaged in the Chamonix valley for almost 2 decades, Ruth Martin’s favourite massage time of year is the UTMB week, when she works with many participants, from the hardcore amateur runners (and their equally hardcore support crews) to the insanely fit pro-athletes.  It’s always super exciting and super humbling at the same time to watch these humans push their strengths and resilience to the limits. It is wonderful to see any Equilibrium Massage clients finish any event, and the cherry-on-top to witness some get a top ten and even podium place at UTMB. (shout out for Mariya Nikolova, UTMB 9th place 2017 & 2018, Rory Bosio, TDS 2nd place 2018; Stephanie Howe, CCC 4th place 2019, for starters).

We look forward to offering our mobile massage services in Chamonix to new and returning contestants this year… and will follow our 2022 UTMB massage clients avidly throughout the races.

For 2022 UTMB event in Chamonix, when not doing pre or post race massages, we will be excited to cheer on, amongst others: the dynamic and super positive Dynafit trail runner and ski-mo pro, Grace Staberg in the OCC; Stephanie Howe, all-round super-mum mountain athlete also racing OCC with The North Face; Ionel Cristian Manole racing 2022 UTMB; Hannah Osowski, racing the CCC with Dynafit, Henriette Albon and her husband, Jon Albon in the CCC; Morgan Pilley – racing UTMB; and Claire Heslop – UTMB!


Reviews about Ruth Martin’s Equilibrium Massage Treatments

“I’ve participated in numerous ultra-marathons, including the TDS (119km) and CCC (101km) of the UTMB, and Ruth’s work has been an essential part of both training and recovery. Her service and skills are exceptional, and she’s always accommodating of my hectic work and training schedule. For any athlete (or even anyone who sits at a desk all day long), I highly recommend Ruth.”

Seth, USA & Chamonix, France

“We were in Chamonix for the UTMB and were lucky enough to be recommended Equilibrium Massage by a friend who had used them before. There are so many massage therapists about but it is rare to find someone special – Ruth was amazing, she has a special skill of identifying and fixing problems – truly blessed! Fixed all of our issues before our races and sorted us out with a recovery massage also – as a result we had 9 out of 9 finish the race 👌🏻 you will not want to leave Chamonix 😊”

Rob, Hong Kong

“Ruth was an exceptional help the days before and after my race in Chamonix! She definitely was a great resource when I needed to ensure I was taken care of. I approve of her in the highest regard!”

Matt Scharr, USA

Looking for an amazing massage in the Alps? There’s no-one better than Ruth. Intuitive and knowledgeable, I always leave feeling a million times better – whether it’s for a specific muscle ache or just general wellbeing. Thanks Ruth!

Isobel, UK & Chamonix, France

Contact Ruth Martin for more information to book a massage:
(t) +33-783-72-63-76               (e) massage@equilibrium.fitness


Massage, Relaxation and Wellbeing is Empowering

Empowerment through Massage

Relaxation isn’t just time out doing nothing or enjoying scented candles and a soothing voice. Relaxation is a crucial part of enabling high performance. The path to physiological (and therefore psychological) relaxation may involve some technical bodywork techniques, targeting tension patterns and restricted areas in the body. The neurological, psychological and physiological science behind a relaxing massage treatment shows that it is a crucial aid to stress recovery and health. Relaxation protects the immune system, reduces blood pressure, eases inflammation and enhances brain functions such as memory, decision making and enjoyment.

After a decade working with athletes, corporate bosses, musicians and luxury holidaymakers looking to de-stress, Ruth Martin now runs Equilibrium ~ Performance & Wellbeing in the Alpine town of Chamonix Mont Blanc, France. She is a Massage Therapist well versed in helping anyone become the most relaxed and powerful version of themselves, to perform at the best level they can. Fascinated by the inter-relationship between psychology and physiology, she has developed an approach to enhancing anyone’s “performance and wellbeing” through a combination of therapeutic massage, relaxation and a field of soft tissue therapy known as myofascial release.

Ruth Martin Massage in Chamonix with Equilibrium
Corporate Incentive Trip – Massage & Wellbeing Benefits Everyone.

Massage is a phenomenal medium to reduce tension, energise the body and boost endorphins – the wellbeing hormones. Taking time out just to be looked after for an hour or so is a wonderful psychological boost. And relieving immediate stress and long term tension involves some amazing physiological processes.

The New Corporate Incentive – Massage & Wellbeing

“A good therapeutic massage” explains Ruth Martin, “will relax muscles, rehydrate connective tissue, pinpoint and release areas of unwanted tension that have perhaps been holding you in an unhelpful posture or movement pattern. For instance, an ostensibly successful entrepreneur may have tension headaches. Following chronic travel, desk work and high intensity business work, a great massage should help restore posture to an open, “regal” holding pattern, letting the upper shoulders drop and soften, the upper chest feel open and the neck feel relaxed, while the core can become engaged and powerful.

Simultaneously massage should engage the parasympathetic nervous system that motivates rest and recovery. The idea is that if physically you feel relaxed, stronger and confident, then psychologically you are happier and calmer. More often than not, massage will alleviate or reduce any tension pains.”

Regular massage during a trip or holiday is a great way to allow your whole body to feel long term benefits from the getaway – beyond the immediate relaxing effects of a treatment. Equilibrium offers “Skiing and Wellbeing” and other weekend and weeklong tailored packages in beautiful Alpine locations, so clients can pre-book a course of restorative massage and bodywork sessions – knowing their holiday will truly rejuvenate them in body, mind and soul.

To augment the therapeutic nature of massage, Equilibrium also calls in highly trained yoga instructors, a qualified mindfulness coach and various mountain-fitness professionals who help to give clients a wonderful experience alongside that inner glow. Increased cardiovascular fitness, released holding patterns, natural strength, body tone, flexibility and fresh perspectives – all add up to make a person feel energised, healthy and ready to take on both the big mountain ski fields and the big world. Relaxed – and in the driving seat.

For further information, visit www.equilibrium.fitness or contact Ruth Martin on +33.783.72.63.76 or email us.

ChamoFix Massage becomes Equilibrium Fitness

Welcome to Equilibrium – a concept that has been developing in the background over the years of Ruth Martin’s sports and well being massage business in Chamonix Valley and beyond. Passionate about the beneficial effects of great quality, thoughtful massage and aware of the diverse physiological situation of every single client, while massaging in the Chamonix Valley and internationally for nearly a decade (through ChamoFix Massage), Ruth has often found herself connecting her clients to equally motivated yoga instructors, osteopaths, personal trainers, psychological coaches and physiotherapists, not to mention martial arts experts or brilliant sports instructors… all dedicated to their niche.

Equilibrium.Fitness has been developed to harness the power of collaboration of bodywork professionals – offering a one-stop-massage-yoga-fitness shop to enhance your Performance and Wellbeing, whoever you are and wherever you come from!

This is the new phase of Ruth Martin and her fellow professionals’ exciting journey, delivering great massage, fitness and wellbeing in Chamonix Mont Blanc and beyond, through Equilibrium. From on-demand massage and wellbeing treatments in Chamonix, Argentiere, Les Houches, Vallorcine to international onsite packages, the team at Equilibrium guarantee dedication and commitment to making you and your guests or clients feel and be more amazing than ever.

Ruth Martin back massage - Chamonix Mont Blanc
Ruth Martin massages in Chamonix