Oncology Massage for Cancer Patients

Oncology massage is the modification of massage techniques in order to safely work with the effects of cancer and cancer treatments, and includes people in active treatment, those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life. We suggest booking 90 minutes for your FIRST appointment to allow appropriate time for your evaluation, positioning and massage. 

Essential aspects of an oncology massage therapist’s skill set are an informed understanding of the pathophysiology, of cancer; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify massage techniques in order to adapt for those side effects, as well as for the disease.


Standard oncology massage intake questions include those pertaining to:

  • cancer treatment history
  • tumor site or metastasis
  • compromised blood cell counts
  • lymph node involvement
  • blood clots or blood clot risk
  • medications short and long term
  • vital organ involvement
  • fragile or unstable tissue
  • medical devices
  • clients experience of fatigue, neuropathy, or pain
  • changes in sensation
  • late effects of treatment


Clinical assessments and adaptations to the massage session for someone affected by cancer are critical to providing a safe massage.

For people in active treatment, recently into recovery, or at end of life, these clinical considerations can and do regularly change. Massage modifications as a result of positioning, pressure, pace or site considerations related to concerns like medical devices, side effects of drug treatments, surgery or radiation, compromised lymph nodes or blood cell counts, and other concerns, may apply, and are unique for each person.

Contraindications and Adaptations

With appropriate modifications there are few absolute contraindications. Deep tissue applications for a person in active treatment and massage over the site of of a tumor are however universally contraindicated.

For someone in active cancer treatment or recovery a practitioner should avoid pressure and speeds that may add to fatigue, compromise skin or bone integrity, aggravate the side effects of compromised blood cell counts or vital organ impairment, cause nausea, create unnecessary risk for someone with or at risk for blood clots, or trigger or exacerbate lymphedema. The appropriate adjustment of pressure and speed can vary between clients. Our therapists employ a practice of beginning conservatively and slowly “inching forward” with regard to increase in pressure and speed, if necessary.

Benefits of Oncology Massage

  • Clinical research supports the use of massage in reducing pain and anxiety. Patient reported massage benefits additionally include improved sleep, decreased sense of isolation, enhanced boy image, and increased feelings of well-being.
  • Oncology massage does not try to “fix” anything, and unlike many massage modalities is not a series of techniques or applied protocols. Rather, it is the ability of the therapist to recognize and safely work within clinically established guidelines, given a client’s unique circumstances.
  • Many cancer treatments require immediate as well as long-term massage modifications.
  • Oncology massage is safe therapeutic massage during and after cancer treatment.
  • An oncology massage therapist knows to modify the massage session to adapt to these considerations, as well as those pertaining to the late effects of treatment and where applicable, disease progression.
  • Massage adaptations are necessary for:
      • fatigue
      • peripheral neuropathy
      • low blood cell counts
      • blood clots
      • bone pain
      • bone metastases
      • radiation or surgery
      • removal of lymph nodes
      • lymphedema
      • medications
      • medical devices
      • late effects of treatment

Contact Lymphatic Drainage Massage Clinic

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To schedule an appointment with Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Advanced Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist, Jacqueline Bosco CMLDT, CLT, please call (813) 298-5603.   We believe nothing is more important than human touch.

Providing massage services to patients in The Villages, Florida, Sumter County, Leesburg, Eustis, Mount Dora, Tavares, Lady Lake, Fruitland Park, Wildwood, Bushnell and surrounding areas.