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Posts In: Massage Therapy

Breast cancer survivors may be surprised to learn that after their last treatment, there are still physical challenges to overcome.

You may feel pain, swelling and stiffness in your shoulder, arm and chest from several treatments, including:

  • Breast biopsy
  • Lumpectomy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Lymph node removal
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiation
  • Breast reconstruction

Physiotherapy, Pilates and massage therapy each offer their own benefits to breast cancer survivors who have undergone any of these procedures. Learn how each can reduce your pain and help you move forward.

Physiotherapy for Cancer Recovery

Physiotherapy can help you recover from breast cancer by reducing swelling, increase range of motion, and reducing pain. Physiotherapy can get you back to your regular activities faster, like brushing your hair, driving a car, and simply taking a deep breath. When you still have stitches or drains from your procedures, your movements may be more restricted but there are still physio exercises you can do to promote a full range of motion. Strength exercises can be added once your stitches and drainage devices have been removed.

Keep in mind that even when performing simple range of motion exercises, it is easy to hurt yourself when you’re recovering from breast cancer. You need professional supervision to move in the right ways at the right times.

Further, specific physio exercises can target common side effects of breast cancer. Specific movements can reduce lymphedema, a type of swelling where your body holds onto your interstitial fluid for too long. Other movements target lymphatic cording, also called axillary web syndrome. Stretching can painlessly break these cords so you can regain your arm’s full range of motion.

Pilates for Cancer Recovery

After chemotherapy and radiation, survivors often experience fatigue and weakness, on top of a weakened immune system, usually for four to six weeks afterwards. Exercise can help restore your normal energy levels and rebuild muscles.

Pilates is a particularly great exercise regimen for this task, focusing on core strength to increase your balance. It also doesn’t require you to perform heavy cardio, something few breast cancer survivors are ready for, especially when your ability to take deep breaths is likely impacted by your treatment.

Exercise has benefits beyond your muscles and energy levels. Research suggests that exercise helps your immune system strengthen after chemotherapy and radiation treatments. One of the very best things you can do for yourself is to keep on the path to health with exercise.

Massage for Cancer Recovery

After the stress you’ve been through, a massage is probably a very appealing thought. So, feel free to treat yourself and know that your massage will further your recovery efforts. Massage relaxes you and promotes a positive frame of mind. It also helps to reduce swelling. Though you may not want your chest or shoulders massaged right now, particularly as your incisions heal, it will be more comfortable to be massaged near your sore spots, and you may find that it helps subdue painful swelling.

Besides, massage is more helpful than it seems. Research has found that massage can even help with immune function and helps to combat fatigue.

Join us as Absolute Pilates for any, or all, of these three healing practices. Feel free to contact us anytime about our programs. We wish you the best of health and comfort on your breast cancer recovery journey.

benefits of massage therapy

Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing and therapeutic massage? If you have an injury or condition that impacts your physical wellbeing, you may consider pursuing massage therapy to promote healing. Few people realize that massage therapy provides so many benefits for the body, mind and soul.

Heal Your Body

Traditionally, people seek massage therapy when they have an injury or an illness to treat. There are a wide array of targeted massage therapy techniques available and depending on the method you choose, massage therapy can help you recover from a variety of diverse health conditions and injuries. For example, sports massage can help restore your range of motion, strengthen weakened muscles, extend and relax tendons and much more.

Another popular kind of massage therapy is trigger point massage. It helps with conditions that involve nerve pain, including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Repetitive movement injuries
  • Pain from poor posture
  • Nerve compression causing back and leg pain.

Other forms of massage therapy can also treat:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Post operative pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Problems from sitting at your desk.

Massage therapy can increase your circulation, which boosts your cardiovascular health and supports you as you seek to improve your health or performance.

Support Your Mind

Massage therapy isn’t just a physical treatment, there are powerful mental and emotional benefits as well.  According to the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario, massage therapy reduces:

  • Stress and stress related conditions
  • Symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Headaches
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome.

Massage therapy has such a positive impact on your mental well-being that cancer patients are using it to support them through chemotherapy and other difficult treatments. Massage therapy can reduce their nausea, fatigue, and depression. Those with other serious conditions, like Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or those receiving hospice care also use massage therapy to increase their quality of life.

Those who are not suffering from a serious condition or a mental health disorder will still enjoy the effects massage therapy has on their mind. It helps you to sleep better, relax and can make your more productive in other areas of your life.

Express Your Soul

Massage therapy hasn’t traditionally been an aspect of many Western religious or spiritual practices, so few have considered incorporating it into their spiritual life. But elsewhere in the world, the spiritual potential of massage therapy has been noticed and praised. Ancient Chinese and Indonesian massage therapy practices closely intertwine spirituality with physical touch. In Hawaii, a spiritual practice of giving and receiving massage, called Lomilomi massage, is used as an effective treatment to heal the mind and body.

Perhaps it’s this knowledge of the long tradition of religious massage therapy in the East that has inspired Westerners to try incorporating massage into their own practice. Many spiritual communities now offer or encourage massage therapy as a way to connect with one’s soul or strengthen one’s beliefs. There is even a Christian Massage Network that offers massage as “a union of physical and spiritual healing for the mind, body, and soul.” If you’re a spiritual or religious person, you may find nourishment for your soul on the massage table.

Contact us at Absolute Pilates and schedule a massage to see what physical, mental, or spiritual benefits message therapy can offer you.  

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