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Massage Benefits for Survivors

March 26, 2007
by Toni Muirhead, Licensed Massage Therapist

Massage done safely can relieve the physical side effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  Massage, done by a massage therapist trained in safe practices for patients in treatment for cancer, can offer a gentle touch to quiet the mind, create a feeling of calmness, and relieve the muscle tension due to illness and inactivity. 


Massage is very safe when done by a trained massage therapist who understands the precautions and contraindications that need to be followed.  Otherwise a patient can be fatigued or hurt. Many considerations must be understood concerning the patients treatment; nodal dissection, lab values, different medications they are on, and scheduling of massage during treatment are just a few examples. Each patient is different concerning position, but a trained therapist can use a bolster for support to make the massage extremely comfortable.  Surgery and placement of port-a-caths are two examples that might require a patient to have a side-lying massage or choose not to lie on their stomach.


I initiated the massage program at a South Florida outpatient cancer center 6 years ago.  We started as one center and it now includes 3 centers.  I offer free massage to patients while they receive their chemotherapy and chair massage to patients before or after radiation treatment.  I also teach light stretches and movement therapy, which helps with the side effects of treatment.  I also have a private practice which allows me to see patients outside of the hospital.  I am a consultant for Lindi Skin which is a skin care line specifically created for patients under treatment for cancer.  And lastly I am a potter, which helps me to understand the healing power of the arts.


Visit Toniís website at


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