Therapeutic Massage and Cancer Care

16 May 2008


1. Billhult A, Dahlberg K. A Meaningful Relief from Suffering - Experiences of massage in cancer care ; Cancer Nursing 2001Vol 24; No.3 pp180-184

The experience of massage in an oncology ward was the focus of this study. Eight female cancer patients were given massage for 10 consecutive days and then interviewed using phenomenology as a theoretical framework. The essential meaning of massage as part of the daily care for female cancer patients was described as getting a meaningful relief from suffering. The findings identified five themes: the relief is meaningful because it offers the patient an experience of being 'special'. The massage contributes to the development of a positive relationship with the personnel, to feeling strong, and to a balance between autonomy and dependence. The massage also brings about a meaningful relief from suffering because it 'feels good'. The findings of this study can be of use to health care professionals as it shows that a relatively short period of massage can result in physical and emotional benefits for cancer patients.

2. Bredin M. Mastectomy, body image and therapeutic massage: a qualitative study of women's experience; Journal of Advanced Nursing 1999; 29 (5): 1113-1120

Despite the wealth of literature concerning the impact of breast loss on a women's body image, sexual and psychological adjustment, there have been few studies within the medical and nursing literature directly quoting a woman's private perspective; how in her words she experiences her changed body. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence-based interventions for addressing the problem of altered body image (ABI); healthcare professionals often feel at a loss in knowing how to help women cope (Hopwood & Maguire 1998). In this study, in-depth interviews were undertaken to explore three women"s experience of breast loss with particular focus on body image issues; a second phase piloted a massage intervention as a means of helping them adjust to living with their changed body image. Listening to their experience, in combination with the therapeutic massage, allowed deep access and insight into the nature of the women's trauma. The experiences of the three women in this study suggest there may be a group of women whose needs are overlooked and who, despite their problems they have in living with a changed image. The availability of a body-centred therapy might help with certain aspects of adjustment as revealed by this study.

Categories: Shiatsu