Reproductive Conditions and Cancer

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When I began studying massage therapy I was interested in working with two populations: pregnant women and cancer survivors. I took classes that related to working with both–pregnancy massage and lymphatic massage. While I was taught a lot of valuable information with regard to both topics, I definitely feel that I would need additional training and careful practice to really delve into these populations seriously. Dr. Johnson’s Massage Pathology class has taught me valuable information regarding cancer. I know better what skin abnormalities are worrisome, and more about a host of cancers than I knew before. I am still curious about working with cancer patients and survivors, but this course has taught me the need to a) work closely with a client’s medical doctor, and b) to seek further training in the protocols that have been developed for working with cancer patients and survivors. I am particularly interesting in further training in craniosacral work and lymphatic drainage. The craniosacral work seems particularly important due to the subtlety of the work, and the lack of direct tissue work on a large scale. For instance, if a client is undergoing radiation it seems that work that doesn’t require a lot of physical contact would be a plus. With regard to the lymphatic drainage, breast cancer is much more a non-taboo topic. It occurs to me that there is a large number of women exposed to the cancer and the possibility of having nodes surgically removed, and that women might tend to use massage therapy more often than men. This sounds like an opportunity to make a rewarding difference in people’s lives. As a man, I was encouraged to learn that lymphatic drainage performed on breast cancer survivors should be done in the non-affected area: essentially creating a vacuum effect that can pull the fluid from the affected area. I look forward to testing this theory both through further training and practice under the appropriate supervision.

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