Hands on Holistics
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Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.
Massage and cancer key questions
What is massage?
Massage is an ancient technique that involves manipulating muscles and rubbing or stroking soft tissues of the body.
Massage is considered a type of complementary therapy. Complementary therapies aim to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease. They are used together with conventional or mainstream medicine. Complementary therapies are not used instead of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or drug therapy.
While massage doesn’t treat the cancer itself, it may help reduce the side effects caused by conventional treatments and improve quality of life and well being.
Complementary Therapies as Supportive Cancer Care/ Palliative Care
Why do people with cancer use massage?
As well as improving physical symptoms, some people with cancer say that having a massage:
makes them feel whole again
helps them to relax
helps them share feelings in an informal setting
makes them feel more positive about their body
Research shows that massage of muscle and soft tissue does not spread cancer cells.
What are the benefits of massage?
Scientific studies have looked at the effects of various body-based practices on people having cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery. These studies have shown that massage may reduce:
anxiety and depression.
Individuals who have had massages during cancer treatments have reported a range of positive outcomes such as improvements in:
the health of the scar tissue
quality of life
mental clarity and alertness
the range of movement.
What is motor neurone disease (MND)?
MND is a progressive, degenerative disorder that affects nerves. Nerves are likened to the electricals and are responsible for making us move, breathe, swallow, eat and talk. These nerves are affected by MND. Depending on where the disease lies, will influence the signs and symptoms. Disease in the upper neurone i.e. the electricals between brain and spinal cord will have different effects to those in the lower i.e. between the spinal cord and the muscles.
What are the benefits of massage?
Massage therapy has a vital role in helping those coping with diseases of any kind.
Muscle twitching, spasm, cramps, pain and stiff joints are all common in MND and massage is very effective in relieving them. Massage causes the release of the body's own painkiller and anti-inflammatory chemicals - yes, the body has its own pharmacy.
Massage around the joints causing the most pain will help with their movement as well as easing tightness. Treatment is aimed at getting the best out of affected areas by improving their mobility. Associated joints and tissues will also require treatment so they can take the extra strain and compensate for the damaged areas so maintaining overall mobility and healing.
Circulation and cold extremities can be helped as can fluid build-up causing swelling in feet and hands.
Massage helps improve circulation and create warmth especially if you are becoming more immobile. Waste products are moved into the system allowing oxygen and nutrition rich blood in to the areas that need it, assisting healing.