Massage therapy as a supportive care intervention for children with cancer

Pediatric oncology nurses can help maximize patient outcomes by assessing, advocating, and coordinating massage therapy services as a supportive care intervention.
This is the conclusion of a recent literature review that assess the integrating massage as a supportive care intervention for children with cancer.
According to the data synthesis’ authors, from the Division of Pediatric Oncology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York,

The authors reviewed more than 70 citations, using PubMed®, online references, published government reports, and the bibliographies of retrieved articles, reviews and books on massage and massage and cancer.

The authors found that Massage therapy may help mitigate pain, anxiety, depression, constipation, and high blood pressure and may be beneficial during periods of profound immune suppression. Massage techniques light to medium in pressure are appropriate in the pediatric oncology setting.

The authors concluded that Massage is an applicable, noninvasive, therapeutic modality that can be integrated safely as an adjunct intervention for managing side effects and psychological conditions associated with anticancer treatment in children. Massage may support immune function during periods of immunosuppression.


Hughes D, Ladas E, Rooney D, Kelly K. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2008 May;35(3):431-42.