Jun 05, 2017 12:00 PM

Author: Tammie Sparks, Massage Therapist

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From time to time, HCI invites guest commentary from our community. The views reflected in these commentaries are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of HCI.

After your cancer diagnosis or during treatment, you may be feeling stressed, anxious, or even in pain. Massage therapy is an integrative therapy (a treatment that helps with physical or emotional symptoms) that may help increase your sense of well-being. I believe that massage is all about the person receiving the massage, creating time and space for that person to release aches, pains, stress, or anxiety and gain a calm and relaxed state of being. Massage should feel good.

The Wellness and Integrative Health Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute offers massage therapy at a reduced price to patients. Knowing these five things can help you prepare for your massage and fully enjoy it.

1. How does massage therapy fit in to cancer care?

Massage therapy is a treatment in which the soft tissues of the body are kneaded, rubbed, tapped, and stroked. Massage can help reduce stress, anxiety, and pain in people who have illnesses such as cancer.

2. Your massage will be tailored to your medical needs and personal preferences.

On the day of your appointment, arrive a few minutes early to fill out some paperwork for your massage. It's important to complete all the information, because it will help the massage therapist tailor your massage to your personal preferences and medical needs. Of course, the therapist will keep all of your medical information confidential.

3. Speak up with any questions or concerns.

One of the most important things in receiving a good massage is communication. Ask your therapist any questions you have about your massage. Knowing that all of your questions have been answered will help you relax and enjoy your massage.

Remember that you are in charge of your body and your comfort is a priority. You can undress as much as you like. The therapist will offer you a warm blanket to keep you comfortable. If you experience any hot flashes while you are being massaged, the therapist can remove the blanket to help cool you down.

Communicate with your massage therapist about the little things, too. Let them know if the temperature needs to be adjusted; if the massage is too deep, heavy, or light; if the music needs to be changed to something you like; or if the room is too bright or too dark.

4. Allow your brain to relax, too.

Try to let your brain relax along with your body, in whatever way works best for you. Some people like to talk during their massage and other people do not. You can even take a nap if you want! When your massage is over, take a few minutes to stretch, reflect, and gather your thoughts. Don’t worry about straightening up the room or taking care of the sheets—we have that covered.

5. After your massage, book another massage!

Don’t forget to book your next massage before you leave. Massage therapists have their own unique styles, so try out a new therapist if you’d like.

To schedule a massage, call the Wellness and Integrative Health Center at 801-587-4585.

Tammie Sparks, Massage Therapist

Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute

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Cancer touches all of us.

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