Tracy Walton: Cancer and Massage Therapy: What Does the Research Say?

Date: Nov 18, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bookings are closed for this event.

Tracy Walton, renowned oncology massage therapist and teacher, leads a lively discussion on massage research to help students become more informed and confident practitioners.

9am-12pm: Cancer and Massage Therapy: What Does the Research Say?
3 CEs, NY/NCBTMB approved; fulfills NCBTMB research requirement.

Research Class Only: $110
Both Research and Ethics Classes: Early Bird (register by Oct. 29th): $195
Both Research and Ethics Classes: Regular Price (after Oct. 29th): $225

A client with cancer or a cancer history asks you, “How will this help me?”

We often default to the lists of massage benefits we learned in school, on the web, or in trade publications. Yet in order to really speak to this client’s question, to give an honest answer about the benefits of oncology massage, we need the best, most current oncology massage therapy research in the field.

In this course, we will review the oncology massage therapy evidence in a fun and easy-to-understand format. Then we’ll choose the strongest and most relevant evidence for you to use with clients, in your outreach materials, and with health care professionals who might send you referrals.

You’ll receive guidelines on how to use the evidence. When to bring it up, how to frame it, and when to use a simple testimonial instead.

Along with true massage benefits we can claim, we will also list the common myths in massage therapy to avoid. We will take a look at common massage claims that have little or no evidence behind them, and define better, stronger ways to make the case for massage therapy.

You’ll go home with:

  • Accurate claims to strengthen your case for oncology massage, based on research and observations from massage practice;
  • Better tools that strengthen your outreach to potential oncology clients and referral sources;
  • Good, solid references on massage therapy to use in your outreach.
  • We’ll look at how all kinds of data can strengthen our case for massaging this special population, and how it all fits into responsible oncology massage marketing.

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish between supported and unsupported claims of massage benefits;
  • Name the three highest levels of evidence, and reference one oncology massage research study at each level.
  • Use accurate language and research to describe the effects of oncology massage.

Course 2 (Afternoon): Ethics in Oncology Massage and Hospice Care

The work of oncology massage, end of life care, and massage for anyone with serious illness answers a high calling. It can also demand deep inner resources. At times, the work can be enlivening, draining, intimate, and intense.

On top of the usual ethical challenges, unique challenges can arise. Here are a few tender situations we’ve encountered over the years:

  • A client, nearing end of life, asks you your beliefs about life after death. How much do you share?
  • How do you react when a client asks you, “What treatment would you choose, if you were in my position?”
  • What are your personal reactions when your client complains about their medical care, their illness, or anything else?
  • Your client is medically frail, near end of life, and repeatedly asks for deep pressure. How do you respond?
  • What do you say if a client asks you about alternative treatments for cancer or another condition?
  • Suppose, at a memorial service for a client, a family member asks, “And how did you know my brother/mother/aunt?” How do you answer?

Most often, massage therapists manage these situations alone. Most of us could use support and conversation when we’re in this territory. In this course, we gather a group of LMTs together to look at the dynamics that can arise when we provide massage therapy to people during or after serious illness. We will pay attention to the moments that make our hearts sing, others that make our hearts break open, and the moments when we ask, “And…what the heck should I do or say now?”

In our discussions, we’ll refer to all the usual resources: MT scope of practice, privacy and disclosure guidelines, and the sensitive power differential between client and therapist.

While some ethical questions have clean, clear answers, other ones are messy, and they bring up more questions.

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how some deeply held belief systems can serve to join us with a client, how others might separate us from a client, and consider guidelines for when, how, and most importantly whether to share our beliefs;
  • Describe three ethical dilemmas that can arise in providing massage therapy for people who are seriously ill;
  • Reference three guidelines from professional codes of ethics.
  • Communicate firmly, sensitively, and compassionately while explaining the reasons for gentler pressure.

Who are these courses for?
These courses are focused on the practice of massage therapy and are primarily for professional massage therapists and advanced massage therapy students. We do not require a background in oncology massage therapy or hospice care, but we refer to information and concepts used by practitioners and courses in these areas.Both courses are open to all massage therapists and advanced massage therapy students. All health care professionals are welcome at these courses. Anyone with a professional interest or background in cancer care, hospice care, research, administration, or ethics is welcome to attend.

Continuing Education (CE) hours are offered only to massage therapists.

You are welcome if you have extensive background in ethics or research, oncology massage or hospice care.

You are welcome if you have no experience with these topics, and you’d like to know what might come up before you start.

You are welcome if you like learning in community, and would like your ethics and research CE hours to be directly related to your areas of interest and practice.

You are welcome if you’d like to learn!

Tracy Walton, MS, LMT, is a pioneer in the use of massage therapy in cancer care. She is also an established instructor, researcher, and practitioner, focused on some of the most important issues in massage therapy. She has been working and teaching in the field for 26+ years, has learned from thousands of clients, and has a story or two to share. Read more about her here.

What to Bring
Your experience, your questions, your challenges.

An open mind and heart.

Curiosity (“How do other people handle this? What insights might I bring home? What surprises are in store for me?”)

Snacks for you. Snacks to share if you want. Chocolate is particularly well-received.

Pen and paper.

There is no hands-on work.

Withdrawal Policy

Once registered for the course, if you withdraw by 7 days prior to the start of the course, you will receive a refund of tuition paid, minus a $20 administrative fee. After that date, there is no refund of tuition.

Registration / Cancellation Policies