Does Massage Help Relieve Pain?
Can massage help to relieve pain from cancer?
Wayne Mylin, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA-CP is an Asian Bodywork Therapist specializing in Shiatsu and Acupressure at Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:
Many types of massage and bodywork (shiatsu, acupressure, etc.) can be very helpful for pain from cancer. Depending on the cause of the pain, an experienced and well trained practitioner may be able to address the cause - but more often, the practitioner can treat the cumulative effects of chronic/acute pain, such as muscle tension, stress, shallow and rapid breathing, etc.
In short, pain creates tension, tension increases the pain.
Reducing tension and relaxing the body/mind/spirit helps to break that cycle of pain and tension. This can be very helpful in managing the pain.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See full archive of IntegrativeTherapies in Cancer Care.