The diagnosis of cancer at times will be an isolating experience for those with cancer and their loved ones. Many stressors come into play that at times, screaming aloud or just crying seems to be the only non-medicinal remedy. Do not get trapped into that corner of despair. Under the right pair of hands, massage therapy may produce effects beyond relaxed muscles. During an interview with Michelle Harshman, L.M.T. (licensed massage therapist) she explained how massage is recognized as a source of significant benefit for persons with cancer and their loved ones.
Harshman who has her practice in Fort Myers says, “Massage induces relief from muscle tension, spasms, and fatigue. Further effects from Massage include improved lymph movement, reduced edema and swelling, better digestion and elimination, increased flexibility, greater outlook on life and enhanced self-esteem. Massage restores range of motion and promotes health, and it feels good. It imparts an improved quality of life and a boost to the healing process.”
According to the National Institute of Health massage therapy has been around for millennia, they are currently conducting investigational studies, and a clinical trial is studying different types of massage therapy to compare how well they work in treating the symptoms of patients with locally advanced or metastatic cancer.
Reiki is a specialized form of massage therapy that works on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Harshman says that the Reiki process was first used in Japan in the early twentieth century and that it relieves pain, reduces stress and increases relaxation. Something that we can all use with or without cancer. During my interview, she stated that Reiki promotes calmness, creates inner harmony and awareness, and does wonders on emotional and mental disorders as well. These anecdotal reports of relief are becoming a focal point for massage researchers.
As with all therapies and over the counter medications, herbs and vitamins, it is best to consult with your physician prior to starting any new strategy. Harshman stated that the intention to providing Massage is to relax, restore and nurture. Massage therapy reduces stress levels, has been found to reduce the levels of cortisol and glucocorticoids in the blood, and therefore may inhibit the spread of the disease.
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