Complementary Therapies Program
Questions and Answers about Massage TherapyMost massage therapists in the United States are trained in what is commonly known as Swedish massage. Shiatsu, Rolfing, Reflexology, Hellerwork, trigger point, shiatsu and reiki are examples of the many different types of massage styles that are available. These styles differ in their techniques and approach to the body.
Massage is often suggested as a complement to cancer treatment as it can be used for:
- Alleviating pain
- Improving circulation
- Reducing swelling
- Assistance with symptom management
Massage consists of gentle stroking, kneading or mild stretching of the muscles either while in a seated position (chair massage) or a full-body massage while lying on a table. Massage may be done through one's clothing or on exposed skin, in a chair or a full body massage is given on a massage table.
Massage therapists are not licensed in Michigan. You should look for a massage therapist who is accredited by The American Massage Therapy Association. Accredited massage therapists have completed a program of 500 hours or more and have graduated from an accredited massage school. For more information, contact the American Massage Therapy Association at 847-864-0123.
The U-M Health System offers a variety of massage options. For more information (including associated fees), please visit the Massage Therapy at UMHS webpage.
Cost of massage varies from $50 - $75 per hour. Some insurance plans cover massage. You should verify cost and reimbursement prior to initiating any therapy.
If you are in active treatment for cancer, it is important to consult with your physician prior to beginning massage therapy. Some oncologists recommend gentle, relaxing massage but suggest avoiding the tumor area. Massage therapist who work with patients in active treatment should have professional training related to cancer. Patients with lymph and bone disease or those with low blood counts should always consult with your physician prior to beginning massage therapy.
This document does not constitute an endorsement of the information contained in the resources. It is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for, nor engaged in, rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through this document and its links should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care.