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> Home > Articles by Tina Allen > Children's Massage for Cancer

Children’s Massage for Cancer

by Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
Updated April 2016

Providing Massage Education to Families

During a recent visit to a children’s hospital, the mother of a child approached me with a question.  Amy, her little girl was only eight months old and diagnosed with Retinoblastoma (a rare childhood cancer arising from immature retinal cells in one or both eyes). Mom was pointed in my direction by the head nurse on duty, and when she approached she asked if I had given her daughter a massage.  Earlier that day I visited the Retinoblastoma clinic, as I routinely do.  During my visits, I provide massage education to families and massage children while they wait for their turn on the exam table.

 



 

Comforting a Baby in Pain

Today, mom and I started talking for a moment, and she wept while she thanked me for massaging her daughter.  Every time Amy comes to the hospital she has to undergo anesthesia to receive routine eye exams.  It is often difficult for a young child to lie still for an eye exam, so anesthesia becomes a necessary component to these visits.  Over their twelve previous hospital visits, Amy hadn’t been able to relax and the experience was accompanied by screaming, crying, fear, anxiety and stress for all involved.  Her mother shared how heart wrenching it was to witness her baby in such pain without any way of comforting.

 

Touching the Entire Family

Mom had a tear in her eye and said, “Thank you for giving my daughter the medicine she needs to heal.”  It was amazing to know that beyond just providing a massage session for a young girl, I had touched the entire family.

When a child has to be hospitalized, or is diagnosed with a difficult medical condition, their symptoms are often accompanied by anxiety, pain and fear. Parent and caregivers can be at a loss as to how they can participate in their child’s healthcare and make them more comfortable.  This is where massage comes in.  Not only can a skilled pediatric massage therapist provide hands-on massage for these children, but parents can be educated in simple techniques so they can do the same.
 

Pediatric Cancer Patients Experience Reduced Pain after Massage Therapy.

Complementary therapies are increasingly integrated into mainstream cancer programs and centers. According to Harvard Medical School researchers, almost 12 percent of children and adolescents in the United States use complementary or alternative medicines, known as CAM.  About 66 percent of children with cancer use some type of CAM.  Although most studies have reported the effects of massage in adult patients, pediatric cancer patients also experience reduced pain after massage therapy. Massage is one of the most commonly used pain management strategies for pediatric patients newly diagnosed with leukemia. Research has shown that massage therapy can ease both physical symptoms as well as, emotional discomforts associated with pediatric medical conditions. Studies conducted by the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine show that massage can alleviate pain, anxiety and depression in pediatric clients.  No one likes to think of a child being in pain, let alone having anxiety or depression.  However, it is a reality for these children and their families.  Massage can provide relief of the pain, anxiety and depression for children and their families and aid in their healing process.
 

 

Specially trained Certified Pediatric Massage Therapists

Massage may be a supportive therapy that can be readily applied, most effectively by specially trained massage therapists or by parents who have learned massage techniques from a skilled, educated massage therapist.   Pediatric massage and nurturing touch are the most appropriate massage techniques to use in this population. When using massage therapy for children with cancer, your work does not need to be aggressive to achieve its maximum potential.

 

Pediatric Oncology Massage

Pediatric Oncology Massage requires specific skills to adapt massage and nurturing touch techniques suited for the child’s specific cancer treatment and treatment plan.

Healthcare professionals including massage therapists who wish to provide massage for pediatric oncology patients should consider specific specialized training in this area.  The comprehensive Touch Therapy for Liddle Kidz with Cancer (Massage for Children with Cancer) Course for massage therapists and healthcare professionals provides educational and professional training to those who wish to enhance their skills. Through this advanced training, participants learn to provide massage therapy, nurturing touch techniques and touch therapy for children who have been diagnosed with Cancer.

Massage therapy may not cure cancer but can provide some of the “medicine” which may relax and help a pediatric patient to heal.
 

 

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Specially trained Certified Pediatric Massage Therapists

lkf-cpmt-logo-144pxMassage may be a supportive therapy that can be readily applied, most effectively by specially trained massage therapists or by parents who have learned massage techniques from a skilled, educated massage therapist.   Pediatric massage and nurturing touch are the most appropriate massage techniques to use in this population. When using massage therapy for children with cancer, your work does not need to be aggressive to achieve its maximum potential.

For more information visit Comprehensive Pediatric Massage Training Course (CPMT)

 

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For more information visit Touch Therapy for Liddle Kidz with Cancer (Massage for Children with Cancer) Course

 



 

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