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Oncology Massage Treatment

Oncology Massage Treatment is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatment. 

Patients who receive cancer care, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as those at the end of life, are best served by a massage therapist who has received special training in oncology massage.

Massage involves the stroking, kneading or stretching of muscle groups. Evidence shows that massage can benefit many cancer patients and caregivers, both physically and emotionally. 

Research suggests that stress-reduction programs tailored to the cancer setting, such as massage, may help patients cope with the side effects of treatment and improve quality of life after treatment. The use of massage therapy for cancer patients has become more common in recent years as a way to reduce pain, anxiety and nausea.

The Integrative Medicine Center offers oncology massage for MD Anderson outpatients and inpatients. Outpatients may also self-refer for brief relaxation chair massage, generously funded by Angie's Spa at our Mays Clinic location.

Certain criteria may prohibit patients from receiving massage therapy.

Patients with certain medical conditions must consult with their physician and the massage therapist prior to any massage session. Some patients are not eligible for massage therapy, but others may be eligible with appropriate restrictions on pressure, site and position.



MD Anderson inpatients can receive oncology massage services in their hospital room. Ask the attending physician to send a consult request online.

MD Anderson outpatients must obtain a physician's order before scheduling an oncology massage treatment. Please ask your MD Anderson oncologist or nurse to send a consult request online. 

For more information:


Oncology Massage Demonstartions

Our massage therapist, Sat Siri Sumler, explains when it's safe to massage a person who has cancer and how to massage correctly with gentle, slow strokes, as well as when massage should not be used and which parts of the body should not be massaged.

Oncology Massage of the Back in the Hospital Setting (08:44)

Oncology Massage of the Extremities in the Hospital Setting (13:57)

Oncology Massage of the Head, Neck, Shoulders and Upper Back in the Hospital Setting (10:25)


You may also visit our Integrative Medicine Program website to obtain recent information on research and topics related to integrative medicine.

Request an Appointment

Integrative Medicine Center Entry

The Integrative Medicine Center and its services are available to all current MD Anderson patients.

To request an appointment:

  • Call 713-794-4700
  • Online
  • Ask your MD Anderson physician or nurse to submit an internal request

Newsletter/Group Classes Calendar


Inside Integrative Medicine is a free monthly newsletter with the latest news on complementary therapies, research and a monthly activities calendar for the Integrative Medicine Center.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center