April 29 Wellness Wednesday, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the
Children’s Hospital lobby, will feature massage therapy. Participants
will be able to get a free massage from a licensed therapist of the
Center for Therapeutic Massage.
by Ashli Golden
Licensed Massage Therapist
At almost any given moment, a handful of people in your life have had
some sort of relationship to cancer. Whether an individual has leukemia
as an infant, lymphoma as a child or discovers breast or prostate
cancer as an adult, a particular prognosis is set up by health care
professionals to help patients and their families survive this
consuming condition. Along the track of chemotherapy and radiation
therapy, doctors increasingly have found benefits through massage
therapy to address cancer symptoms.
In order to grasp the concept of comfort that massage brings to a cancer patient, one must imagine the depths of this disease.
Cancer is the term for the disease in which abnormal cells divide
without control and can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts
of the body. Several main types of cancer include carcinomas that begin
in the skin or in the tissues that line or cover internal organs.
Sarcomas are cancers that begin in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood
vessels or any other connective tissue.
Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming tissues
and bone marrow producing a large number of abnormal blood cells that
can enter the blood stream and lymphomas and multiple myelomas are
cancers that begin in the immune system.
Battling this devastating disease can exist for varying spans of
time for each patient. Therefore, types of treatment also may vary.
Symptoms, on the other hand, tend to be somewhat similar for most all
patients. Overall apathy, anxiety, depression, nausea, trouble
sleeping, and pain are the most common symptoms and the combination of
any number of them results in a decreased quality of life.
The benefits of massage are many to all systems of the body, but are
especially important in the lymphatic and immune systems affected in
the cancer patient.
- Promotes lymph circulation reducing lymphedema (swelling) helping to remove metabolic waste products from the system.
- Increases the number
of white blood cells thereby strengthening the immune system through
the increased count of natural killer cells and lymphocytes.
- Increases blood flow to bring fresh, nutrient rich blood to the body.
- Increases alpha and delta brainwaves, which are linked to a better quality of sleep.
- Reduces stress through activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
A 2004 study at the
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the nation’s leading
cancer centers, showed that the symptoms of cancer patients
dramatically improved with the use of massage. During a three-year
period, more than 1,200 patients treated with massage showed an
approximate 50 percent reduction in pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and
note: The preceding column was brought to you on behalf of Health 1st.
Striving to bring various topics and representing numerous employee
wellness organizations and committees on campus, this weekly column
seeks to provide MUSC, MUHA and UMA employees with current and helpful
information concerning all aspects of health.
Friday, April 24, 2009