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Oncology Massage Certification

Massage for People

Living with Cancer


A Basic Training Course for Massage Practitioners and Students, Bodyworkers, and Other Professional Touch Therapists


by Gayle MacDonald


Instructors: OMEA staff

Massage through the oncology process

Course Description:  Comfort-oriented massage or touch can be administered to people with cancer regardless of the severity of their condition. The purpose of this class is to train touch therapists in the basics of oncology massage. The experience derived from this training will create new-found confidence in bodyworkers about working with clients, particularly private practice clients, who have cancer or are recovering from it. Therapists who focus on hospice and hospital work will also find this course to be valuable for their special needs patients. 

    The curriculum includes information on:
    • opening the heart to those with serious illness
    • metastasis
    • adjustments that must be made for clients who:
      • are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation or who have a history of it
      • have had surgical or medical procedures
      • are at risk for lymphedema
    • how to perform intake with clients who have a history of cancer treatment
    • supervised massage session with a person who has undergone cancer treatment

Significant time is devoted to hands-on practice with the culminating activity to give a relaxation massage to someone with cancer or a history of cancer.

Enrollment Requirement: The course is open to licensed, certified, or professional massage therapists; massage students enrolled in a professional training program who have completed Swedish Massage I or the equivalent; bodyworkers certified in other non-invasive, gentle modalities; or other therapists by permission of the instructor.

Advance Reading
Because each minute of time available to us in class is precious, some advance reading is required from Medicine Hands: Massage for People with Cancer, 3rd Edition (2014, Findhorn Press). Be sure you have the 3rd Edition. It can be ordered using the Amazon link at the S4OM website:
S4OM.org. The following sections should be read before attending class:


  • All of Chapter 4: The Side Effects of Cancer Treatment: Why The Need for a Less Demanding Approach
  • All of Chapter 5: Pressure, Site and Position: An Organizational Framework
  • All of Chapter 7: First Do No Harm: Adjusting for the Common Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
  • All of Chapter 8: The New Normal: The Role of Massage During Recovery.
  • Look at the Class Schedule to see current offerings of this course.

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