Is Your Massage Therapist Qualified?

Cancer-specific expertise may not always be necessary, but for some patients additional qualifications may be recommended.

Cancer-specific expertise may not always be necessary, but for patients who have symptoms or special issues with metastases or lymphedema, additional qualifications may be recommended. Ideally, your massage therapist should have a broad knowledge of cancer and its treatments to determine the correct amount of pressure to use and areas to avoid. According to Lauren Muser Cates, president of the Society for Oncology Massage, here’s what to ask potential therapists:

• Have you had special training covering modifications and contraindications of massage for people with a history of cancer?

• How many cancer patients have you worked with? For how long?

• How does your approach change for those who have had surgery, radiation or chemotherapy?

• Do you need my doctor’s consent? (This is always a good idea.)