What is Oncology Massage?

Oncology Massage is a relatively new modality in massage, created over 15 years ago out of a need to empower massage therapist to work with individuals on a healing journey with cancer.   The American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute in the U.S., the National Health Service in the U.K., and bodies in Australia such as the New South Wales Cancer Care, all advocate massage in the treatment guidelines for supporting individuals with or recovering from cancer and its side effects. Oncology massage compliments all treatment choices for Cancer and can support an individual and their symptoms during and after Cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation or radio therapy provide particular challenges for the body, often with various side effects.  With specific training massage therapist support the body and symptoms that arise from these treatments. Radiation sites often have burnt tissue, and depending on where the beam was aimed organs in the body could be affected in addition to the tumor.  Radio Therapy can be implanted in specific areas of the body.  Surgical sites are to be avoided initially, and then supported due to the scar tissue that results.  All of these treatments are supported with gentle touch (calming the nervous system), acupressure and reflexology (support for specific symptoms).

Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can put an individual’s body at risk for lymphedema (a pooling of protein rich fluid in the body with inadequate lymphatic drainage.) The National Lymphedema Network states “people who have undergone removal of lymph nodes or radiation therapy have an increased risk of developing lymphedema.”  A trained massage therapist will assists clients in understanding the risks and safeguards for lymphedema, and utilize manual lymphatic drainage to support individuals with compromised areas of their body.

Adjustments are made to the amount of pressure applied.  The body is being asked to do many different functions as it works to get back to optimal health.  Applying too much pressure could lead to unwanted symptoms and anxiousness. A gentle touch diminishes the fight or flight response, and some medications affect an individual’s ability to perceive the optimal amount of pressure for their body.

Body position is taken into account.  Some individuals have medical appliances implanted, or have had surgeries.  Pillows and bolsters are utilized to ensure the clients comfort so they can relax and receive the session.  The client may need to be in a certain position on the table to feel safe based on past traumas.

Steve Romey has received over 300 hours of specific training in oncology massage. He integrates the Chinese meridians and acupressure to support those with active cancer, in treatment, and remission. The symptoms and side effects from the disease and the treatment of the disease (surgery, radiation, and medications) are treated holistically as he works with the whole body, organs, and energy meridians. Some of the symptoms may be nausea, low blood counts, fatigue, neuropathy, edema and lymphedema, digestive disorders, headaches, sleep issues, low appetite, and the emotional aspect of being diagnosed. With an understanding of cancer and the many ways it affects the body, each session is adjusted based on the most pressing side effects/symptoms present for that session. Massage modifications as a result of positioning, pressure, pace or site considerations related to concerns like medical devices, side effects of drug treatments, surgery, or radiation, compromised lymph nodes or blood cell counts, and other concerns, may apply, and are unique for each person and each session. Receiving a massage during or after treatment can give a general feeling of well-being and feeling cared for. Steve partners with each client on their  journey providing a deep sacred space for healing during the therapeutic session.Body-Mind-Spirit


Some individuals with Cancer or other health challenges will experience neuropathy which can affect sensory nerves (control sensation) and motor nerves (allow movement of the body) which can cause tingling, pain, and weakness in the feet and hands.  It generally refers to the peripheral nervous system as opposed to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).  Often times the build up of toxicity in the body from chemotherapy treatment and various medications can lead to neuropathy.  The liver has to process everything that comes into the body. It filters our blood along with 400+ functions it does on a daily basis. During and after treatment of cancer Oncology Massage Therapists utilize Chinese Medicine and acupressure to support the liver meridian (for toxicity) and the kidney meridians (for the nervous system). In addition, special oils are massaged into the affected areas, the whole body is supported in an effort to restore optimal health.

Lymphatic Massage bodywork can also be highly beneficial for individuals with Cancer or other health ailments affecting the lymph and immune systems.  Click for more info.

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Oncology Massage, Manual Lymph Drainage, Lymphedema treatment, Stress Relief, Pain Relief, Relaxing Massage, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Ventura County, Los Angeles, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, Steve Romey, Conejo Valley, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Newbury Park.