6 Skills Every Oncology Massage Therapist Needs

June 6, 2018

It is well known that massage can play a vital role in treating pain and stress, but what about something like cancer? Can massage therapy really help to alleviate the toll cancer puts on someone dealing with cancer? The answer is, for most cases, yes.


It’s called oncology massage.


Oncology massage techniques vary from patient to patient. It’s more a matter of patient preference. Some prefer the traditional circulatory Swedish massage; some, the Chinese Tuina massage; or some, Seitai: a Japanese shiatsu massage. All work as a technique considered to be a form of oncology massage.


Six skills every oncology MT needs.


According to an article published by massagemag.com called “6 Skills Every Oncology Massage Therapist Must Posses,” author and expert, Kerry Jordan, outlines the six fundamental skills every MT looking to work in oncology needs to know.


1. Advanced training

A fully-trained MT should complete foundational oncology massage training.


2. Vaccination

An MT working with cancer patients should have all immunization shots so as not to unintentionally infect the patient.

 3. Scope of practice

As an MT, you are trained as an MT. Your position must remain within that scope of practice. You are not a nutritionist, nor are you a life coach.


4. Mainstream participation

The patient on which you are conducting oncology massage has chosen to use mainstream medicine. The doctors working with him or her are professionals. It is not your place to criticize the patient’s choice or the medical team.



Any MT working within a hospital in the USA must adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It’s federal law.


6. Flexibility

In oncology massage, the patient will not be in a private treatment room. He or she could be receiving another treatment while simultaneously working with you. There are noises from machines, talking, and potential chaos that could erupt at any moment. You must be able to adapt to the environment.


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Verified by Nick Gabriele.