Cancer – there’s nothing like it to get your life in focus, says oncologist Pallav Mehta.
You absolutely can learn how to cope and regain a sense of control in your life, he adds.
This is so valuable – whether you have cancer or not.
And chances are, you will. You’ve probably heard people say it:
Half of us will get cancer sometime in our life.
That’s the reason thousands are getting the message out this month: be aware of cancer.
Some years ago, I saw a client who had a skin area that changed color since their last visit.
I recommended they see their doctor.
It was cancer.
Because it was discovered earlier, this increased their success in fighting it.
Trained massage therapists and estheticians see these things that you may not notice.
It’s a privilege helping people this way.
When you overcome the fear of finding out – and get a diagnosis – you have more power.
If the news is bad, you have more time to do something about it.
And with cancer, more time is priceless.
So is the ability to deal with your feelings.
Mehta explains some of the feelings cancer fighters face…
First you find out the terrible news of the diagnosis. Then there’s the whirlwind of treatments.
No wonder so many people – and maybe you or a loved one – feel the anxiety and helplessness of this situation.
How can you cope?
Mehta recommends changing your lifestyle.
How you eat. How you exercise. How you moderate stress.
Take exercise, for example.
Dr. Lemole, co-author with Mehta of the book, After Cancer Care, says:
One study shows that women who exercise 6 days a week have 50% better odds than inactive women of keeping breast cancer from coming back.
In fact, exercise is better than Tamoxifen, Lemole adds. Take the meds, he recommends, but get the exercise too.
What kind of exercise?
Get yourself a trampoline.
Can’t jump up and down on it? That’s just fine. Almost anyone can sit on it and just bounce up and down.
And that’s where you get the benefit – from bouncing up and down.
The lymph system in your body is a network of one-way valves, Lemole explains.
When you move, the toxins (acids and other material thought to cause or worsen cancer) go through these valves.
This ensures these toxins move only one way – through your liver, lungs and kidneys and on out of your body.
Bouncing on a trampoline moves lymph more efficiently than running or walking, says Lemole.
And without the stress on your joints.
However, when muscles exercise, they produce yet more toxins and waste.
And if your muscles are tense (perhaps from anxiety) this restricts circulation and keeps your body from getting rid of these toxins.
What can you do about this?
Michele Naumann Carlstrom, a licensed massage therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, explains why.
If you’ve ever gotten a massage, chances are your therapist suggested you drink water after treatment.
Not only does massage relax you and relieve your anxiety.
Kneading and working the muscles loosens up all those toxins and metabolic wastes – sending them right to your kidneys.
That’s why you have to pee right after a massage, says Carlstrom. Sometimes, people can’t get off the massage table fast enough, she admits.
Of course, the water you drink replenishes the fluids you just moved. And it helps your kidneys remove even more of the newly liberated toxins.
This is why massage is absolutely wonderful for people fighting cancer.
More and more doctors are using massage as a complementary therapy for cancer patients.
In addition to chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or drug therapy – massage can lessen side effects of medicine and improve your quality of life.
One study by B.R. Cassileth and A.J. Vickers looked at the effects of massage therapy on about 1300 people with cancer, over a 3-year period.
The study results are clear:
Massage therapy reduces pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Researchers D. Fellowes, K. Barnes and SSM Wilkinson cite 10 more studies proving the power of massage to get rid of these symptoms. [Pain Symptom Management, 2004 Sep 28 (3): 244-9]
Is massage safe for cancer patients?
Doctors recommend therapists avoid tumor and treatment areas.
However, “light, relaxing massage is safe for all stages of cancer,” says the Cancer Council.
Yes, massage helps with physical cancer symptoms. It also helps you cope, emotionally.
Why not talk to your doctor (and a licensed massage therapist) about getting a massage?
Life takes it out of you. I’d love to help you put it back in.
How can I help you personally?
Call me at 303-920-2350 with any questions, concerns or to find out how massage and essential oils can make life better for you.
by Sarah Shropshire
LMT, Essential Oil and Business Consultant