Quality of life massage

Care massage for cancer
and life-limiting conditions

Quality of life massage

Being diagnosed with cancer or a life-limiting condition is life changing. The impact on mental and physical health from diagnosis to either successful treatment (in the case of some cancers) or end of life vary from one person to the next. At some point, anyone with such conditions will likely experience symptoms of poor mental health – whether briefly or for a more sustained period – and also experience varying physical symptoms of the disease itself or however it is managed, including chemical and surgical treatment.

Some of the symptoms caused by these conditions and their treatments include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Muscular pain
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Lowered immunity

How massage can help

Massage is a complementary therapy that is widely accepted and scientifically proven to work effectively alongside conventional medical approaches to help manage symptoms.

Massage can help to:

  • reduce fatigue (1,2) by boosting energy levels;
  • manage mental health symptoms by helping the body to process stress hormones, lowering their levels (3), and increasing serotonin and dopamine production, helping to manage anxiety and depression (4);
  • ease muscular pain by reducing tension and knots. It has also been proven to reduce pain for cancer patients (5);
  • improve sleep quality by increasing melatonin production;
  • manage nausea by working on acupressure points;
  • boost immunity by increasing production of white blood cells (6).
Positive touch
An additional benefit is that massage is a source of ‘positive touch’. Opportunities for positive touch are often reduced in these cases, as people can be wary of touching those who are ill for fear of hurting them. This can cause feelings of isolation and depression for those living with these conditions, which negatively affects the immune system as well as mental health. Trained oncology and palliative massage therapy provide safe positive touch that can help those with these conditions to feel connected and understood.
Massage for carers
The needs of those people who dedicate themselves to caring for people with cancer and life-limiting conditions are often overlooked, especially by themselves. However, the mental and physical challenges of being a carer can be significant, potentially affecting both the carer and those they care for.
I provide massage therapy for carers as well. This includes an offer to book two 30-minute massages (one for the person with the condition, one for the carer) for the price of a 1-hour appointment.
Massage for scars
Once scars have healed these can be worked on to release and ease tension, helping to relieve the tight, pulling sensations experienced in these areas and helping them to sit flatter.

Why choose Equilibria Massage

  • I am a professional oncology (cancer), life-limiting conditions and palliative care massage specialist.
  • I volunteered as a massage therapist for St Michael’s Hospice (stmichaelshospice.org.uk) for their on-ward palliative care, and The Pink Place (www.thepinkplace.org.uk), a Basingstoke cancer charity.
  • Within my practice, I have provided massage therapy to people with cancer, living with cancer, motor neurone disease and MS.
  • I am DBS checked.
  • My service is mobile, so there is no need to travel to and from appointments.
  • I tailor my treatments to align as closely as possible to the specific needs and circumstances of each individual – which includes working with limited mobility and those unable to sit/lie in certain positions – working closely with consultants and care teams where applicable. I will discuss mobility at the point of booking.
  • I can work around furniture and equipment.
  • All equipment is provided with the service, including a professional massage therapy chair or professional massage couch, but I can also give massages to wheelchair and hospital bed occupants.
  • I have treated people who use augmentative and alternative communication systems, such as eye gaze technology. For clients with communication difficulties, I ask for their carer to be present during the treatment in order to aid communication.
  • This service can be provided over clothes without oils or on skin with oils.

Treatments can be booked for 30 minutes or 1 hour. 1-hour appointments can be split between the client and a carer as two 30-minute treatments. 

Clients who receive government benefits are eligible for a discount on the below rates.  

  • 30-minute treatment: £30
  • 1-hour treatment: £50
  • 1-hour treatment for client and carer (2 x 30-minute appointments): £50

Please note:

  • Please allow 15 minutes for arrival and set up before your massage, and 10 minutes for departure after your massage.
  • All appointments open with a brief consultation.
  • New clients are required to complete a health questionnaire. Please allow an additional 15 minutes for this.  This is provided at no additional cost.  Your health questionnaire will help determine whether it is safe to proceed with your massage and help focus the treatment on your needs. To review the health questionnaire, please click on this link: Equilibria Massage Client Consultation Form.
  • Treatments focus on symptom management and relaxation. No deep pressure is used during these sessions.
  • Massage can be used alongside conventional medical approaches, not instead of. No massage therapy can cure, but studies have shown that it can help to manage some of the symptoms caused by cancer and life-limiting conditions and their treatment.
  • People who have had cancer are able to have deeper pressure massage one year after their last chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment, with modifications depending on where lymph nodes have been removed and if lymphedema is present.

The Pink Place – support and social events for men and women affected by cancer in the North Hampshire area
Macmillan Cancer Support – specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) – supporting people affected by MND.  A ‘Quality of Life grant‘ can be applied for (with support from your Nurse Specialist) to help fund massages and complementary services for people with MND.

Palliative care
St Michael’s Hospice 

Salisbury Hospice

Both Hospice enable anyone faced with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers, to attain the highest possible quality of life by providing a choice of specialist care and support.

Bereavement and counselling
Cruse Bereavement Care – free care and bereavement counselling to people suffering from grief.
The holistic consultant – counselling and end of life planning.

  1. Kinkead B, Schettler PJ, Larson ER, Carroll D, Sharenko M, Nettles J, Edwards SA, Miller AH, Torres MA, Dunlop BW, Rakofsky JJ, Rapaport MH (2018) “Massage therapy decreases cancer-related fatigue: Results from a randomized early phase trial.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29044466
  2. Hilfiker R, Meichtry A, Eicher M, Nilsson Balfe L, Knols RH, Verra ML, Taeymans J (2018) “Exercise and other non-pharmaceutical interventions for cancer-related fatigue in patients during or after cancer treatment: a systematic review incorporating an indirect-comparisons meta-analysis.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28501804
  3. Listing M, Krohn M, Liezmann C, Kim I, Reisshauer A, Peters E, Klapp BF, Rauchfuss M (2010) “The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20169378
  4. Lyman GH, Greenlee H, Bohlke K, Bao T, DeMichele AM, Deng GE, Fouladbakhsh JM, Gil B, Hershman DL, Mansfield S, Mussallem DM, Mustian KM, Price E, Rafte S, Cohen L (2018) “Integrative Therapies During and After Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29889605
  5. Gentile D, Boselli D, O’Neill G, Yaguda S, Bailey-Dorton C, Eaton TA (2018) “Cancer Pain Relief After Healing Touch and Massage.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30247960
  6. Hernandez-Reif M, Ironson G, Field T, Hurley J, Katz G, Diego M, Weiss S, Fletcher MA, Schanberg S, Kuhn C, Burman I (2004) “Breast cancer patients have improved immune and neuroendocrine functions following massage therapy.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15256294