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An Oncology massage is a specialist massage therapy for people who’ve been diagnosed with or are recovering from cancer. It uses expert techniques and works therapeutically to give a renewed sense of deep relaxation.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, then you are likely to be going through a whole range of emotions and wondering: “Why me?” and/or “Is this it?”. It will often floor you and you may feel isolated and alone. Oncology massage can help.

What is Oncology Massage?

In the past people worried that massage could cause cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body and therefore cancer was considered a contraindication to massage. This is now known to be a myth, cancer develops and spreads because of changes to a cell’s DNA (genetic mutations) and other processes in the body. Massage or other movement such as exercise does not cause cancer to spread. In fact, massage can be very beneficial for those who have cancer.

​It’s still important to understand how cancer affects the body though, and adaptions and modifications may be needed depending on your current stage of health. These may include length of session, pressure and speed as well as site restrictions, positioning and avoiding any areas affected by cancer, such as tumour sites or lymph nodes, or any areas being treated with radiotherapy.

How does massage help me?

Massage can help relieve the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of treatment such as chemotherapy related fatigue, nausea, stress, depression, insomnia and pain. It can ease muscle tension and promote relaxation and emotional wellbeing. It has also been found to support healing and even increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments. Therapeutically it provides a comforting touch and even a gentle hand or foot massage can be beneficial. Sometimes massage may release emotions, this is a natural reaction and you should not feel embarrassed or concerned if this is the case.

Each session is tailored to your specific needs. I’ll take the time to listen to you, to discuss your treatment, requirements & feelings. Your session will be adapted so that it’s just right for you. I will provide extra pillows and cushions where needed.

We can also do as little or as much massage as you would like (up to 60 minutes). If you would only like your feet and legs massaged then that’s all we will do. It’s your session and your choice.

A full body massage will take 45 to 60 minutes and a Back, neck & shoulders massage 20 to 30 minutes. These timings are all dependant on you.

Other Suitable Therapies

If for any reason a massage isn’t suitable for you at this time then I can offer alternative forms of complementary therapies such as Reiki, Reflexology and Natural Lift Facial Massage, in circumstances where massage is unsuitable. However, the massage can often go ahead as the main area of concern won’t be treated directly, other areas of the body can be relaxed through massage to help alleviate discomfort.

Contact me

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or would like to know if it would be suitable for you, or anyone you know, to receive a massage. It’s not always essential for you have permission from your medical team before having massage but if you are concerned about how it may affect you then you may wish to discuss it with them prior to making an appointment. If during your initial consultation anything arises where I feel explicit consent may be required I will discuss this with you at the time. 

Please note, massage is not in itself a treatment for cancer, it is also not suitable for areas affected by lymphodema, you should seek a specialist in Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) if you require treatment for this condition.


Does oncology massage spread cancer?  Some people worry that massage can spread cancer cells throughout the body via the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, organs and nodes through which lymphatic fluid (lymph) flows. It is part of the body’s immune system. Lymphatic circulation occurs naturally as we move.

Cancer may spread (metastasise) into the lymphatic system via the lymph nodes, or it may start in the lymphatic system itself. However, the circulation of lymph – from massage or other movement – does not cause cancer to spread. Research has found that cancer isn’t spread by massage. Cancer develops and spreads because of changes to a cell’s DNA (genetic mutations) and other processes in the body.

How often should I have oncology massage? Oncology massage is designed to relieve stress and anxiety and help to make you feel more in control. It’s often used more as an adhoc massage treatment rather than a specific plan. However, as everyone will react differently please feel free to contact me to discuss your needs.

Does oncology massage hurt? Oncology massage is a very gentle & light massage. I always start with making sure that you’re as comfortable as possible, by providing extra cushions, pillows and support. We never go beyond what is comfortable for you.

Do I need to get permission first from my consultant? Although you don’t need written permission it is usually best that you speak to your consultant to get verbal permission that it is ok for you to have oncology massage.

Cancer Charities

Macmillan Cancer support

Breast Cancer Now

Marie Curie