Having a professional massage

Choosing a massage therapist

It is recommended that you choose a therapist who is a member of a professional massage association (see page 29 for details). These associations ensure that members have received adequate training in massage, undertake continuing professional education, and have a current first-aid certificate and professional indemnity insurance. Ideally a therapist has at least a Diploma of Massage or equivalent.

Oncology massage therapists

Some massage therapists have undertaken specialist training in massage for cancer (oncology massage). To find a local oncology massage therapist see www.oncologymassagetraining.com.au and enter your postcode in the ‘Find Your Nearest Therapist’ box.

Ask a potential massage therapist about their training and experience, and whether they’ve worked with people who have cancer. Other questions include:

  • Do you have any specialist oncology massage training?
  • What certification do you hold as a massage therapist?
  • What types of massage or touch therapies have you been trained in? (See pages 10–12 for a list of different therapies.)
  • What modifications would you make for me?
  • What type of clients do you most often work with? (Ideally they are people who require special adjustments such as infants, the elderly, or those with a serious illness.)
  • Are you able to treat me at home if I am unwell?
  • Would you be able to liaise with my doctors or other health professionals, if needed?
  • What is the cost?
  • Are your services covered by my health fund?

Discussing your medical history

It is important to talk about your medical history with your massage therapist, even if the massage is part of a beauty routine such as a facial or pedicure. This will help the therapist make the right adjustments to the session so that it’s safe and comfortable. The therapist may need to decrease the pressure of their strokes and avoid areas affected by cancer.

Give your therapist information

Let the therapist know if you have any of the following symptoms or side effects from treatment:

  • fatigue
  • easy bruising or bleeding
  • low white blood cell count
  • recent blood clot
  • oedema or lymphoedema
  • nausea
  • pain
  • incisions or scars from surgery
  • neuropathy
  • sensitivity to certain scents or smells
  • skin conditions such as rashes, inflammation, broken areas of skin, or fungal infections
  • medical devices such as a catheter or stoma bag
  • cancer in the bones, or fragile bones as a result of osteoporosis.

Most professional massage sessions last 30–60 minutes and cost $60–$80 per hour. Prices vary, depending on the therapist’s location, training, experience and style of massage being used. If you have private health insurance, check with your fund whether you’re eligible for a rebate.

Setting the scene

Massage usually occurs in a warm, quiet room. It can be given either while you lie on a massage table or sit in a chair. It can involve only part of the body or the whole body. You can have a massage while you’re fully clothed or directly on the skin. If you have undressed, only the area being worked on will be exposed. The other parts of your body will be covered by a towel or blanket.

The therapist may place pillows under different parts of your body so they’re supported. Let the therapist know if you need anything relevant to the session such as a change in pressure or another blanket. You may like to close your eyes during the massage.

Taking it slowly

When starting a massage program, it’s important for the therapist to begin with moderately light pressure. The therapist should consider your state of health at the time and your recent treatments.

Judge the effects of the session not only by how the massage feels while you’re having it, but by how you feel 24 hours afterwards. While a massage may feel comfortable at the time, a few hours later or the next day you may feel light-headed, tired or in pain, even if the pressure was light. Massage related soreness should subside within 48 hours. If the symptoms persist consult your doctor. If you do not feel any side effects from the massage and want to increase the pressure of the strokes at your next session, ask the massage therapist to do so gradually until you find the right level of pressure for you.

Feeling safe

You should feel safe, respected and comfortable during a massage. Communicate your needs to the therapist (e.g. let them know if their pressure is too strong or if you’re feeling cold). If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, or the therapist is unable to make the adjustments you have requested, ask them to stop the session.

  • Talk to your doctor before having a massage.
  • A letter from your oncologist outlining your diagnosis and treatment will help your massage therapist develop an appropriate treatment plan.
  • Tell the therapist if something hurts or causes discomfort, or if there’s a certain area that shouldn’t be massaged.
  • Choose a massage time that suits you. You may find it helpful to have the massage before your pain becomes severe or you get tired.
  • Tell the therapist if you are sensitive to any lotions, oils or scents.
  • Record how the massage feels in a journal or pain diary.
This information was last reviewed in September 2014

This information has been reviewed by: Kate Butler, Supervising Oncology Massage Therapist, Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre, Austin Hospital, VIC; Dragana Ceprnja, Health  Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Erinna Ford, Consumer; Jane Hutchens, Naturopath and Registered Nurse, NSW; Katherine Maka, Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jim Olds, Vice President of Australian Natural Therapists Association, QLD; Helpline Operators, Cancer Council Queensland and Cancer Council SA.

View our editorial policy
SHARE

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.