Massage for Cancer Care


Massage in Cancer Care – Oncology Massage Training.   When training at entry level most (if not all) massage therapists were taught that massage would move cancer cells around the body or massage for anyone with cancer was completely contraindicated.  This is not true and this course is designed to give you confidence to know what massage is appropriate and when.  Nearly all cancer treatments leave some imprint in the body and massage therapists need to know how to adjust for that lingering imprint so massage can be safely, effectively and enjoyably offered to EVERY PERSON who has received treatment for cancer.

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Why take this course?

To ensure you are always working safely and therapeutically it is very important to know how to adapt and change your massage protocols when a client presents for massage who has been, or is being, treated for cancer.  This knowledge will ensure your clients are always well cared for.

What you will learn:

  • What is cancer.
  • Current treatments for cancer and their effects on the body
  • Stages of cancer
  • Helping your client prepare their skin for the treatments they will received.

Practical sessions

You will learn how to adapt and alter your massage.  Many massage techniques will be covered including:

  • How to deliver a beneficial massage using various pressures.
  • How to work with clients who have had lymph nodes removed.
  • Short treatments for clients unable to receive full body massage
    • Seated Heart Chakra Massage  – stimulate the Vagus nerve and encourage relaxation.
    • Foot-Reflex Massage –  to relax the body
    • Acupressure massage arm and hand massage

Massage adaptations

  • Positioning– Correct positioning and bolstering is vital to help client release tension from held muscles which brings relaxation into the body.  Also medical devices need to be accommodated.
  • Pressure– Knowing what pressure to use is vital to safe massage.
  • Duration– All bodywork following treatment needs to be undemanding on the body. Learning how to give an effective massage in shorter times is important.  As the clients’ energy returns duration can be lengthened.
  • Lymphatic drainage massage and lymphedema: A thorough knowledge of how the lymphatic system works and how to adapt massage when working with clients who have lymph nodes removed, examined or radiated.  Knowing how chemotherapy affects the lymph vessels is vital to giving a safe and effective massage.
  • Skin integrity: There can be lifelong changes to the skin following some cancer treatments and the massage therapist needs to know how to adapt.
  • Types of massage and touch therapy: You will learn how to work with clients in various settings such as hospital, day care, home and in your clinic.
  • Contraindications: There are some (but few) conditions that contraindicate massage and you learn clear and definite direction regarding when it is contraindicated to massage.
  • Cautions and adaptations: There are lots of situations where you need to be cautious and this course will give you the knowledge and confidence to know the difference between caution, adaptation and contraindication.
  • Intake forms:
    We will discuss what questions you need to ask any client who is currently receiving treatment to ensure the best possible outcome from the massage.

Who can attend this course:

This “massage for cancer care” course is for qualified massage therapists. It teaches you how to adapt and modify your standard massage sequence for people who have cancer or have a history of cancer.

Looking after yourself:

It is important that the therapist knows how to take care of themselves when working with clients who may have a difficult history of illness. We will focus on methods to help you stay centred during your work, let go when finished and how to do productive reflective practice.

Can I learn more?

When you combine the information taught on this course with the information taught on
Lymphatic Drainage Massage course click here or ACE massage cupping level one click here  you will be astonished at how your overall knowledge of the all three subjects is enhanced and expanded

What our students have said:

I would like to thank Christine Courtney in Obus School of Healing Therapies for putting this course together with so much in-depth care, knowledge and research.  This course has given me the strength and knowledge to go forward and work in a very rewarding environment.  Many of us are touched by cancer in one way or another and may have a fear or have been previously told not to treat anyone with cancer – I have learned this is not the case. I have learned how to create the correct environment and how to offer massage to a client with cancer at any stage of their cancer journey.
My expectations were exceeded beyond belief and this would not have happened without the highly trained and qualified Christine Courtney, she is fantastic, very professional and everything was explained with great attention to detail.  I now have no doubts about how to proceed with Oncology Treatments with any client.  This course has changed the way I view all of my treatments.  Lesley Dempsey – Carlow

I want to say thank you very much for an excellent weekend at the Massage for Cancer care course. I had picked up the phone a few times to cancel my place on the course as I had just attended the funeral a friend in his early 30s who lost his battle with cancer and I was afraid I would not be able for the emotions that the course may bring up.  But the way you put the course together was excellent and it has taken the fear out of oncology massage and given us the tools to give a wonderful treatment.  Thank you so much  SMcC

This course is approved by the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care (SATCC)

Over the last 20 years, many wellbeing industry leaders have recognised the need to change the status quo. Where once therapists were taught that they could not touch a cancer patient without causing harm, training providers have stepped in to create adaptable protocols, safe treatments and insurable accreditations that support the client and empower the therapist.

This is underpinned by advances in medical thinking that show the power of touch therapies in positively benefitting people at all stages of their cancer journey.

However, there’s still work to do.”

SATCC          Find out more about the SATCC click here


This course is approved for Continual Professional Development (CPD points) with the following organisations:



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