Massage Therapy for People Living with Cancer

Half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Survivability is increasing exponentially as medicine and lifestyle changes help us understand more about the disease.

Massage therapy is completely safe for people living with cancer, and there are some significant benefits that can help improve the quality of life for the cancer patient.  Massage can NOT spread cancer and when massage therapy is practiced by a skilled therapist, it can dramatically reduce stress and provide welcome relief from many cancer treatment related maladies.

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Go, Go Gastrocs!

Gastrocnemius translates to “stomach of leg”.  It’s that bulge in your calf located in the back part of your lower leg.  It runs from just above your knee to your heel crossing two joints (knee and ankle), ending in the calcaneal tendon (Achilles Tendon).

The technical function of the “gastroc”, along with it’s partner calf muscle the soleus, is plantar flexion–movement of the foot that flexes foot or toes downward the sole) and flexing the leg at the knee joint.

Because we use the gastroc muscle every time we walk, run, stand or jump, it’s working all the time. It’s also prone to tears, strains and inflammation. And, of course, muscle spasms commonly known as “cramps”.

Many factors can cause a cramp.  Dehydration, overuse, poor conditioning, muscle fatigue, low levels of potassium, sodium and carbs to name a few.

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Therapeutic Massage is Different

Recent studies have added to the body of knowledge showing definite positive physiological and clinical changes related to properly performed, targeted therapeutic massage.

The term therapeutic massage is a general, nonspecific term referring to any type of massage, from superficial to deep, that may have a healing effect. Most massage therapists train in multiple techniques and therapies, but and there is high variability in the training programs and in what therapies practitioners choose to learn.

Techniques in a therapeutic massage vary according to need and may include massage from several modalities during the session, including effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, fascial manipulation, structural integration, active release, Swedish, sports, shiatsu,deep tissue, myofascial release, and advanced neuromuscular therapy.

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