The field of oncology massage has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade. With the increase in evidence-based, peer review research around the efficacy and effectiveness of oncology massage, more and more massage therapists are being trained in this needed and meaningful field. More importantly, more and more cancer patients are receiving the healing power of touch.



Everyone has a temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It allows you to chew food, talk and open your jaw to sing. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) manifests in many ways, such as pain in the face, ears, neck and shoulder; sinus pain; pain when chewing or talking; jaw clicking or popping; headaches; and locking jaw. Often people suffering with these symptoms develop social and emotional complications as well. Social anxiety can develop from the embarrassment of not being able to properly….



Over the years many studies have shown a massage has amazing benefits to our overall wellness, such as reduced stress, improved range of motion and reduced pain. However, we rarely have a chance to discuss the benefits of giving a massage. Becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) is an incredible journey, and often, an incredible career. Learning to become a massage therapist can benefit all age groups and walks of life; such as recent high-school graduates, single parents and even those....


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The field of oncology massage has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade. With the increase in evidence-based, peer review research around the efficacy and effectiveness of oncology massage, more and more massage therapists are being trained in this needed and meaningful field. More importantly, more and more cancer patients are receiving the healing power of touch.

Oncology massage, according to the Society for Oncology Massage, can best be described as “the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. Anyone who has ever received cancer treatment, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist who has received training in oncology massage” (

Medical complexities, both short and long-term, arise from receiving cancer treatment. Having the proper understanding of these complexities and how educated touch may impact the body is vital for oncology massage therapists.

Clinical assessments and adaptations to the massage session for someone experiencing cancer or with a history of cancer treatment are critical to providing a safe massage. 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; fatigue, neuropathy or pain; changes in sensation; and late effects of treatment.

A properly trained massage therapist will ask questions about these issues and more, depending on your unique situation. Many of the changes that will be made to your session will be virtually imperceptible to you as a recipient (others may be obvious), but they are essential to safety and the proper support of your well-being.

Another important consideration with oncology massage is pressure, site and positioning. Deep tissue massage is a significant contraindication with a cancer patient because of the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (blood clot), lymph node dissection, death through radiation and possible organ and bone damage from radiation. Even for life, massage pressure through survivorship should adjust for lymph node removal or death because of the risk of lymphedema; for chemotherapy because of the risk of DVT; and for radiation therapy because of the risk of bone and organ damage.

Being aware of the site is important because of possible equipment sites used with cancer treatments (port-a-cath, IVs, piic lines), and positioning is important to adjust for a patient who may not be able to lie on her stomach or back.

While oncology massage encompasses services offered to cancer patients and individuals in survivorship, hospital-based oncology massage (HBMT) focuses on the side effects of cancer treatment in a hospital setting, both in patient and outpatient. Some of the side effects massage therapy has been able to help decrease includes but is not limited to fatigue; pain; nausea; chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; constipation; and scar tissue post-mastectomy and/or post- reconstruction.

Some more promising effects of oncology massage encompass reduced anxiety in advance of and during treatment; reduced post-treatment fatigue; improved appetite and decreased depression; increased feelings of well-being; being pleasantly distracted; improved body self-image; restored hope; and satisfaction in participating actively in a part of the healing process ( item/what-are-the-benefits-of-massage-for-someone-with-cancer).

Along with the many benefits of HBMT/oncology massage, it is the act of touch patients receive that is so profound. For many years, many cancer patients went without massage therapy because we were too afraid to touch them safely and soundly. Through research and practice, we can safely move forward with our field and responsibly and safely touch an individual whose life  has been affected by cancer.

Hospital-based Massage Therapy 100-hour Training Program

Lexington Healing Arts Academy (LHAA) is very excited to offer a 100-hour advanced training in hospital-based massage therapy (HBMT), the first of its kind in Kentucky. Our program offers licensed massage therapists the skills to safely and confidently work on oncology patients in any setting, hospital or private practice. Our focus is not on the treatment of cancer – the patients are already receiving their specific dosing and protocols – but rather treating the side effects of cancer treatment.

In addition to our HBMT training program, LHAA offers massage therapy services to the public seven days a week. We have well-trained therapists on site who can safely work with cancer patients or individuals well into survivorship, as well as clients seeking massage therapy as part of their healthcare and well-being. Scientific evidence supports the benefits of massage. These include but are not limited to:

Lexington Healing Arts Academy is a post-secondary proprietary school offering career education in Massage Therapy, Personal Fitness Training and Yoga Teacher Training. The school was established in 1999 and is licensed by the Commission on Proprietary Education and is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health and Education Schools. In addition, the school also serves the Greater Lexington area through exceptional massage sessions, yoga classes and personal training sessions.

Massage therapy services begin at $35 an hour with a student, $50 an hour with a newly licensed graduate of our program and $65 an hour with a seasoned licensed professional. Our clinic is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. You can reach us at (859) 252-5656. We are conveniently located at 272 Southland Drive, Lexington, KY, 40503.


Jill Cole is a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Kentucky and is Board Certified by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Jill is a 1998 graduate of the Boulder College of Massage Therapy and has served as past president of the American Massage Therapy Foundation, Kentucky Chapter. Jill has vast experience in the clinical setting, serving patients who are both well and medically complex. She also has 12 years of experience in management of multi- therapist massage practices and is the current Clinic Director of LHAA.

more articles by Jill S. Scott