Studies of massage for cancer patients suggest massage can decrease stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue. Many health care professionals recognize massage as a useful, noninvasive addition to standard medical treatment. Therapeutic massage is most often given by trained massage therapists. Caregivers can also be trained in safe massage techniques.
Most people are familiar with the body’s vessel system that carries blood to and from the tissues, but few understand there is another equally vital system of vessels that removes cell wastes, proteins, excess fluid, viruses, and bacteria. The lymph system picks up fluids and waste products from the spaces between the cells and then filters and cleans them.
Like the roots of a tree, the lymph system starts as tiny vessels–only a single-cell wide–that eventually branch into larger and larger tubes that carry these fluids back to the bloodstream. This network of delicate vessels and lymph nodes is the primary structure of the immune system. The lymph nodes act as check points along the pathways of the vessels. They filter the fluid (called lymph) and serve as the home for lymphocytes–little Pac Man-like cells that attack and destroy foreign bacteria and viruses and even abnormal cells, like cancer cells.