Oncology Massage

Oncology Massage

Oncology Massage is an adaptation of tactile therapies that takes into account the effect of cancer and cancer treatment on the body.

Modern massage techniques grew out of a musculo-skeletal model that became physiotherapy after WWII. Since the 1970’s Australia has regulated natural therapies and up until 1999 massage schools taught students that people with cancer could not be massaged, some still hold to that today.

Medical research shows that the opposite is true.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre research paper in 2004 showed clear benefits of massage for people with cancer, in cancer treatment and those living with a history of cancer. (Cassileth & Vickers 2004)

Today cancer services around the world offer massage by trained oncology massage therapists, salaried and on staff in major centres. Sadly, in Australia qualified oncology massage therapists are mostly sessional contractors or volunteers.

Research Links

Integrative Oncology in Australia 2016,

Mapping Service Provision and Exploring Unmet Needs

Complied by Dr Jennifer Hunter and Professor Caroline Smith. 2017

To access full report please visit:


Oncology Massage Research and Training Update

Eleanor Oyston and Maggie McGee,

Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, Vol 18, No 1, March 2012.


Massage Therapy for Symptom Control: Outcome Study at a Major Cancer Center

Barrie R Cassileth, PhD and Andrew J Vickers, PhD,

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Vol 28, No 3, September 2004



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