Touch based therapies
Many scientific studies have been conducted on the effects of touch -based techniques for people undergoing cancer treatment, particularly chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Research shows that touch-based therapies can reduce pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and nausea. Other benefits may include improvements in sleep, neuropathy, quality of life, mental clarity and alertness.
Massage is one of the most universally used methods of support for healing the body. Touch is an essential part of life, including throughout cancer treatment or recovery.
There are a few misconceptions about massage for cancer patients. The main misconception is that massage can cause the cancer to spread. This is not true; cancer spreads via changes to the cells’ DNA and other processes, NOT via movement or other mechanical means.
For the person in treatment for cancer or recovering from it, massage is a therapy known to lower anxiety and pain, improve energy or decrease nausea. Comfort-oriented, relaxation massage can safely be given to people at any stage of their treatment.
Scientific research shows that massage can reduce fatigue, pain, nausea, anxiety or depression and improve quality of life. A nurturing massage can help the person feel whole again, re-establish a positive body image and rebuild hope.
Mind-body techniques are based on the belief that what we think and feel can affect our physical and mental wellbeing. Scientific studies suggest that mind-body techniques can benefit people who have cancer or are recovering from it. Some therapies allow people to explore their emotions.
Evidence also shows that mind-body techniques may reduce the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment. These include pain, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, depression, fear and difficulty sleeping, which can all affect mood and overall wellbeing.
Mind-Body techniques give you the opportunity to discuss your thoughts, feelings and concerns in a safe and confidential environment. You may also find using these techniques gives you relief, or a sense of peace or understanding. These techniques may help people feel more in control of their situation, more relaxed, and less fearful of the future.
Energy based therapies
Many patients use energy therapies as they are very gentle and non-invasive, they work on a similar concept to acupuncture in terms of unblocking energy and improving its flow throughout the body to restore balance. Anecdotal evidence from patients is that energy therapies provide a deep sense of warmth, calm and relaxation, and often helps to relieve pain, reduce stiffness and aid neuropathy.