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The benefits of massage therapy to the people suffering from cancer are still confirmed. Massage is increasingly applied to relieve symptoms in patients with cancer. This practice is supported by evidence from small's randomized trials. During a recent study, cancerous patients having received massages reported a reduction of almost 50% their pains and their faintnesses. The authors of the study were astonished to observe that the relief of tiredness, nausea, the anxiety and the other discomforts felt by the patients reached of cancer persisted during 48 hours following the massage.

This study, of a large scope, proceeded at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York over a three years period, near 1.290 patients. Those were to evaluate themselves their pains and faintnesses according to a preset scale. Patients report symptom severity pre- and post-massage therapy using 0-10 rating scales of pain, fatigue, stress/anxiety, nausea, depression and " other." Changes in symptom scores and the modifying effects of patient status (in- or outpatient) and type of massage were analyzed.

Patients had the choice between a feet massage, a Swedish massage or effleurage. These are the last two types of massage, which proved most effective to reduce the symptoms. The patients treated in private clinic noted a greater appeasing of their pains than those treated at the hospital. Benefits persisted, with outpatients experiencing no return toward baseline scores throughout the duration of 48-hour follow-up. The researchers believe that the environment of the external private clinic is probably more favourable to relaxation and longer sessions of massage than the one of the hospital.

In the United States, one estimates that approximately 20% of the cancerous patients use massage therapy parallel to their medical treatment. The authors encourage people suffering from cancer to prevail itself of services of massage, but they specify that it is preferable to call upon a massage therapist specialized in customers suffering from cancer. According to them, this one will be more able to adapt the technique of massage to the specific needs of the patients.

These data indicate that massage therapy is associated with substantive improvement in cancer patients' symptom scores.

According to Reuters

Cassileth BR, Vickers AJ, Massage therapy for symptom control: outcome study at a major cancer center, J Pain Symptom Management, Septembre 2004, Vol. 28, No 3, 244-9.

Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.





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