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Alternative Medicine: Massage can be Soothing

separator Just about anybody can benefit from massage therapy, whether you’ve had no health problems at all or whether you’re recovering from a serious illness. Can massage therapy help you as you recover from cancer?

Well, first things first. Before you get a massage, make sure that your body’s tissue has healed after surgery or radiation treatments. Talk with your doctor to make sure you can tolerate the massage. If your doctor feels that your healing is complete, then by all means, go for it.

There are some massage therapists who specialize in using the therapy to help treat lymphedema, the build-up of lymphatic fluid that is a painful, and fairly common, side effect of breast surgery. For people who have had a mastectomy, getting a massage on the arm of the side that’s been affected may help to reduce swelling by enabling lymphatic fluid to return more easily.

But no matter what kind of cancer you’ve had, massage may help to relieve discomfort and provide a soothing, relaxing effect. You may even want to consider having a massage before you have surgery. This can relax your muscles and allow lymph fluid to flow more easily.

For some people, having cancer can make them feel alienated from their bodies. Besides all the physical benefits of massage, many people say that it helps them to reconnect with their bodies and feel better about their physical selves.

K. Pelletier, The Best Alternative Medicine, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 2000.; The National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
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