Can a lymphoma patient receive massage therapy?

There's no reason why a

There's no reason why a lymphoma patient couldn't receive massage therapy, but before beginning anything like that, the patient should discuss it with their doctor. most likely not a big deal at all, but one's doctor should be made aware of any kinds of changes made to their patient's lifestyle, just so they're informed.

Hello Ross, I would like to

Hello Ross,
I would like to thank you for taking time to respond to my request; I appreciate it.

This client will be my first oncology massage and I was hoping to get information from therapists in the field who have actually worked in similar setups.

As it turns out, I didn't have to proceed with the massage. My client has just had her bone marrow transplant. The oncology team would like to wait a little longer until her blood count has improved, and, then come in for her massage. I plan to use light effleurages, and foot & hand reflexology.

Thank you very much.

George- I hadn't thought of

I hadn't thought of it from the perspective of the therapist. Interesting.

Now, you're not doing the massage now, however, this woman recently had a HSCT (transplant)? When you do get the opportunity, I imagine that you'll want to be as antigen-free as possible (not that you're not otherwise) but her immune system takes many months to recover and she's immunocompromised in that time. You might find out what subtype of lymphoma she had-- there are between 40-50 heterogenous diseases that make up 'lymphoma'-- so you can, or might, slightly tailor your approach accordingly.

I do a lot of the work here for the lymphoma information network, and I also moderate some Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's support groups at, I've never actually heard of oncology massage as a distinct therapy. Personally I think it sounds fantastic. Is there kind of a sub-speciality in massage therapy for oncology, and if so, is there a general approach that it takes?


Hi Ross, Thanks for your

Hi Ross,
Thanks for your information.
I am in the process of gathering my information, and, your input does help me a lot.

About Oncology Massage...
I do not think oncology massage is a distinct modality. I believe it requires a modification to how we approach the massage therapy for cancer patients: have patient comfort as the primary focus; use lighter touch; do not tax the lymph system that is already burdened; be aware of the quadrant that has the lymph nodes removed; do not cause lymphedema; avoid lower extremities due to the likelihood of DVTs; and so on. I have read books\articles written by two of the leading experts in massage therapy for cancer patients: Gayle MacDonald (her book called Medicine Hands) and Tracy Walton. "Medicine Hands" is an excellent book; great reference; very useful.


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