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.