Massage and Lymph Drainage for Breast Cancer Survivors
Massage amidst a cancer diagnosis and treatment? Yes! That’s right…
Hi, I’m Amanda – Lymphoedema Practitioner and Oncology Massage Therapist and I’ve helped hundreds of women navigate the often-overwhelming cancer experience through specialty massage, education and self-care.
Even after years in practice I am still amazed by how these treatments enhance quality of life throughout the cancer experience, regardless of diagnosis. Women now more than ever, are proactively looking for support to better manage their often lengthy and various cancer treatments so that they can return to wellness as soon as possible.
So How Can Massage help? Let me take you through some modalities that can enhance your recovery:
We all know that wellness should integrate mind, body and spirit – and this matters a lot when it comes to recovery. On the first visit we take a thorough health history and talk about challenges, symptoms and goals. From there we can provide the right type of treatment such as lymphatic drainage, oncology and scar tissue massage.
This is supported by a strong focus on education, self-care and resources to guide my clients through any potential setbacks, fluctuations, symptom progression and often helping to overcome barriers to exercise, physical function as well as intimacy and body issues.
Usually clients will come to see me soon after having a mastectomy or lumpectomy and we’ll go over key things: the lymphatic system and possible swelling (oedema) at the arm and breast, scarring, the fascial system, regaining normal range of motion from the shoulder, easy initial exercises.
Next I want to look at the scar. By looking at the colour, vascularity, thickness, temperature etc. I can then judge how to best treat it. It can take up to two years for scars to heal fully and during this time it is common to develop cording and adhesions. Even if you’ve worked with the most skilled surgeon, scar tissue forms as part of the natural healing process and can create discomfort at the chest wall and under arm, creating sensitivity or discomfort when wearing bras, prosthesis and even clothing.
I routinely work with women who dare not look at themselves, and those who find it difficult to wash and even touch their scars. For this reason, scar care is very important. Scar tissue massage is usually very gentle, it may feel slightly tender in some areas but on the whole feels really good. Surgical scars of any age respond immediately and are followed by continued improvement.
During the first few sessions both manual lymphatic drainage and scar tissue massage are incorporated. Lymphatic Drainage encourages the skin and the connective tissue to loosen and lymph fluid flows more easily, allowing swelling to reduce and the feeling of tension relieved.
The warm touch of the hand triggers the healing process on many different levels, takes away fear, helps to acknowledge the scar and can facilitate a re-connection to the body creating a sense of calm. Clients often experience feeling “whole” again and other unexpected outcomes such as body acceptance, a return of sensuality and even overcoming intimacy issues.
Another speciality type of body work which is gaining in popularity is Oncology Massage. This gentle massage is offered for those (but not limited to) in active treatment phases and promotes deep restoration and relaxation. The emphasis of the session is placed on being fully present to your needs, allowing you to feel safe, nurtured and offering the space for you to simply “be”. Oncology massage can also be timed during chemotherapy and radiation cycles to help reduce the side effects of treatment such as reduced brain fog, relief from nausea and discomfort.
Many clients who experience oncology massage are often surprised by the depth of relaxation and experience other benefits such as improved energy levels, restfulness and emotional well-being.
Read to enhance your recovery? Save time and book online. Amanda offers treatments in a private clinic setting in Bangalow, New South Wales.
For more information visit recoverymassage or call reception on: (02) 8001 6393.
About the Author: Amanda Da-Silva is a passionate Lymphoedema Practitioner and Oncology Massage Therapist who has supported hundreds of women through breast and gynecological cancer recovery. Amanda has a special interest in scarring and oedema and loves seeing her clients move with more freedom, confidence and live with renewed boldness.