We wish we could tell you that massage is the cure for cancer. Unfortunately, that is not the case! Actually, it is even contra-indicatory to give a massage to someone who is diagnosed with cancer. In this article, we will explain you the pros and cons of massage and cancer. And we explain the relation between massaging the abdomen and preventing colon cancer.
But first some facts…
Although there is ongoing research to medical cures for cancer, still almost 10 million people are dying every year because of cancer. Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases characterized by the growth of abnormal cells beyond their usual boundaries. And that can then invade neighboring parts of the body and/or spread to other organs.
Cancer, tumor, neoplasm
Other words for cancer are malignant tumors and neoplasms. Cancer is difficult to treat because it can affect almost any part of the body. Also, it has many anatomic and molecular subtypes that each require specific management strategies.
Men and Women
In women, the most common types of cancer are breast, colorectal (colon cancer), lung, cervix, and thyroid. While lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men.
30%-50% could be prevented
According to the World Health Organization, 30 to 50 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented by a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you can just have bad luck. However, the chances of cancer are significantly lower if you modify or avoid key risk factors, such as avoiding tobacco products, reducing alcohol consumption, maintaining healthy body weight, exercising regularly and addressing infection-related risk factors. And here is where massage comes in…
Massage helps homeostasis
Cancer can occur when the homeostasis is not in a perfect balance. Homeostasis from the Greek words for ‘same’ and ‘steady’ refers to the state of balance among all the body systems needed for the body to survive and function correctly. In homeostasis body levels of acid, blood pressure, blood sugar, energy, hormones, oxygen, proteins, and temperature are constantly adjusted to respond to changes inside and outside the body, to keep them at a normal level. Amazing, isn’t it? Our bodies are doing this, without we’re even noticing it.
Massage helps to have the homeostasis in a perfect balance. When you receive a massage your blood circulation improves (oxygen, hormones, and nutrition are transported everywhere in the body) and the movement of lymph improves (that works for a healthy immune system).
Some scientists and doctors are now relating stress and depression to certain types of cancer. We don’t say that everyone who is stressed and/or has a depression gets cancer. But we do know that there is a relation between stress, depression, and cancer. When your immune system is weaker when you are stressed or have a depression your body is more hospitable to welcoming cancer.
Massage prevents cancer
Massage fights against stress. It is clearly proven that massage reduces levels of stress. Because by massage you are improving circulation, so we reduce the levels of cortisol in our body. And massage improves the immune system, by lowering the blood pressure, and by movement of lymph. So, actually, massage doesn’t fight cancer. But massage can reduce the risks, the chances of getting cancer. The same as exercise, a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle and sports too can help to reduce the risk of getting cancer. So massage prevents cancer in the same way other matters of having a healthier lifestyle will prevent cancer.
Colon cancer and massage
So let’s give an example because the World Health Organization clearly states that 30 to 50% of the cancers can be avoided by having a healthier lifestyle. So one of the common cancers is colon cancer. And one of the things we do with massage is improving the health of the colon. It is not that we say that if you massage your belly that you will never have colon cancer. But the risks, the chances can be lower because of a healthier state of your colon. But how does that work with abdominal massage?
More than 80 % of colon cancer occurs on two places of the colon: the beginning and the end of the colon. The first place is called the starting of the ascending colon (the cecum), where the small intestines connect to the colon. The other place is called the last part of the descending colon, before the rectum, called sigmoid. This last part of the colon makes a kind of curve until it reaches the rectum. In this curvature on the side of the hip, the iliacus muscle is where feces (the solid remains of the food that could not be digested) get stuck.
Massage your colon healthy
Some theories talk about that waste causes degradation once we cannot clean that waste out of our body. And then degradation causes this type of mutation in certain cells that can cause in somehow the wrong functionality.
In abdominal massage, there is a movement in which you press in a peristaltic way, the same as your body would do when you have to go to the toilet. In this way, the massage helps the stuck feces in the colon to move towards the rectum, to cure constipation. Through this massage your blood circulation improves, your lymph circulation improves which fights against the possibility that you have feces stuck in your colon for a long period of time that can cause constipation and certain infections. So by massage, you improve the health of your colon.
Massage when cancer
We just talked about the prevention of massage. But what if you have cancer? Then, we advise to follow doctors’ orders and not receive massage. Massage should only be given to reduce pain when the cancer is terminal. When the cancer is terminal massage can be used as a natural painkiller. We call it to massage for compassion.
To understand why you should avoid getting a massage when you have cancer, we should look at how cancer can be spread. Cancer cells can break away from where they first were formed, this is called primary cancer. Those cells can travel through the blood or lymph system and form new tumors (metastatic tumors) in the parts of the body. The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. When you receive a massage your blood circulation and lymph circulation improves in your body. So, therefore, you can now understand that it is contradictory to get a massage when you have cancer, because of the risk of spreading cancer. However, massage can be used as a painkiller for the terminal state.
Massage after cancer
If you have combatted cancer, you are cancer-free, then it is really good to have a massage. We have many clients that had cancer and they were not able to do sports yet because they have been in bed for a long time and they were very weak after fighting against cancer. Massage treatments will help you to recover faster from all the side effects of the therapies you had for cancer and to improve and regain muscle and bone function. The same as exercise will do for you, but this might be difficult if you are still weak. So the best is to start with massage treatments and to build it up with exercise to become as strong again as you were before you got cancer.
We hope it is clear that the best to prevent cancer is to have a healthy lifestyle and to have early detection. And be sure to use massage not as a cure for cancer, just as a natural painkiller in a terminal state. When someone is cancer-free use massage to recover faster. We wish you a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet, exercise and massage.
Create a healthy day!
Nicole & Manel
PS: Whenever you are ready… here are 5 ways we can help you to become healthier through MASSAGE:
- Retreat – Click Here
- Acupressure Massage Therapy Program (Level 1 Foundation) – Click Here
- Thai Yoga Massage Therapy Program – Click Here
- Acupressure Massage Therapy Program (Level 2 Advanced) – Click Here
- Thai Yoga Massage Teacher Training Program – Click Here
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