On the Internet, there is a lot of knowledge about cancer, and sadly, some of it is false. It’s important to understand which cancer theories are just that and which should be taken seriously.
According to one misconception, full-body massages can spread lymphoma by stimulating the lymphatic system, which consists of tissues and organs (such as the thymus, spleen, bone marrow, lymphatics, and lymph nodes) that produce white blood cells to combat infections and diseases.
Massage is a form of therapeutic body treatment that involves applying pressure to muscles and soft tissue and manually manipulating them. Massage is widely used for relaxation, pain relief (including back pain and headaches), stress relief, muscle tension relief, and muscle soreness relief. While the perceived advantage of massage is debatable, some theories speculate that its mechanisms can improve blood circulation and lymphatic flow, which may explain the root of the myth that massage “spreads” lymphoma.
Is it safe to massage someone who is receiving cancer treatment? Is it true that they could spread lymphoma? The short answer is no.
Ann LaCasce, MD, MMSc, a specialist in Dana-Adult Farber’s Lymphoma Program and director of the Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare Fellowship Program in Hematology/Medical Oncology, says, “There is absolutely no proof that lymphoma can be transmitted by massage.” “We don’t think of lymphoma as a disease that spreads; rather, it’s a systemic disease that spreads through the lymphatics and blood to any part of the body. Furthermore, manipulating tissue has no effect on the movement of tumour cells.”
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Massage is not only safe for lymphoma patients, but it is also helpful to most cancer patients. It can be an important part of a patient’s palliative care – a specialised form of therapy that focuses on treating the entire patient – at any level of treatment – during a severe illness, and includes symptom and pain control.
Oncology massage therapists are specially qualified to work with cancer patients and make the appropriate changes to ensure that care is safe and successful. “Many physiological processes and physical activities, such as exercise, improve circulation more than a massage ever could, and and cancer survival,” says Maria “Bambi” Mathay, LMT, an oncology massage therapist and practising Reiki master at Dana-Zakim Farber’s Center for Integrative Therapies and Health Living. “The fact is that there is more evidence demonstrating the clinical benefits of massage, and I have seen those benefits firsthand in my 15 years of treating patients, including reduced discomfort, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, insomnia, and nausea.”
Massages do not pose a danger or have a clear link to the spread of cancer, so lymphoma patients should enjoy this treatment without fear.
The lymphatic system, like the cardiovascular system, plays an essential role in our bodies. The lymphatic system is important for maintaining body fluid balance, combating disease, and eliminating toxins. The lymphatic system, which is made up of organs, ducts, and nodes, is in charge of transporting lymph around the body. It keeps the body’s fluid balance in check and protects against disease. The fluid and protein (blood plasma) squeezed from the blood is referred to as lymph. The lymphatic system removes the fluid, lymph, from the tissue and returns the cleansed fluid to the bloodstream.
Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid at different points on the body (for example, under the jaw, behind the ears, and in the armpits). Lymphocytes, which are formed in the bone marrow and transported with lymph fluid, help the body battle disease alongside white cells. Since lymphocytes are so vital in disease fighting, it’s critical that the lymph system is in good working order and that the flow is unobstructed. Illness, inactivity, surgery, and injury may all create a blockage in the flow. Since lymph is responsible for the washing of almost every cell in the body, chronic lymph blockage may result in:
A lot of colds and flu
Migraines and headaches
A rise in menstrual cramps
A decrease in appetite
Inconsistencies of mood
The existence of edoema
The lymph nodes may expand while fighting an infection, which is usual. However, tumours may often be mistaken for swollen lymph nodes. It’s caused by malignant lymphocytes that develop too rapidly or live too long, accumulating in lymph nodes and other lymphatic system areas and forming tumours.
Lymphoma signs include
A lump or swollen gland in the throat, belly, underarm, or groyne area that is not painful (usually the first sign)
A rash of red patches on the skin
Nauseusness, vomiting, or stomach pain
Coughing or shortness of breath
Signs that are less common:
Night sweats that are drenching
Unexplained weight loss (typically greater than 10% of total body weight)
A high-temperature fever that comes and goes, particularly in the evening
Itchy skin that isn’t accompanied by a rash
If you have a painless swollen lymph node or gland that doesn’t go away after a few weeks, consult your doctor. Although certain lymph nodes may be reactive (i.e., swollen and painless for a prolonged period of time but benign), it is always necessary to consult a doctor or medical professional. It is important to detect cancer early.
Lymphatic Massage's Advantages
Lymphatic massage is a gentle stimulation of the body’s lymphatic system that improves lymph flow and unblocks congested lymph pathways. It was first developed in the 1930s. Although circulating blood, the lymphatic system is not a closed system and does not have a pumping mechanism like the cardiovascular system. To circulate blood, lymph relies on muscle contraction from deep breathing, exercise, or massage. Lymphatic massage can help transfer lymphatic fluid, unblock the lymph system, help the lymph system drain and filter toxins and bacteria, and boost the immune system.
Massage increases the body’s ability to combat illness and recover from injury by enhancing lymphatic flow. Light pressure and gentle pumping motions into the lymph nodes during a lymphatic massage help unblock the lymph system and improve lymph flow by up to 20%. Finally, immune system efficiency can be greatly enhanced, thus metabolism is increased and waste and toxins are eliminated.
Drink plenty of water after any massage, but particularly lymphatic massage, to help flush out the toxins that are released. Lymphatic massage is often used in combination with deep tissue massage to help relieve mild edoema that can occur after deep tissue massage.
You may note that your skin looks younger after a lymphatic massage. This is because increased lymph flow helps to regulate the body’s fluid levels, plump the skin, and flush toxin