Exercise and integrative wellness have been shown to provide many benefits to cancer patients. We are featuring our experts in a series of articles that will take a closer look at the various exercise and integrative wellness programs available at the Community Cancer Center and how they benefit our patients. Next up are massage therapists Laura MacKenzie and Abbey Pfeiffer.
How long have you been a massage therapist? How long have you been doing massage therapy at the Community Cancer Center?
Laura: I’ve been a massage therapist for 21 years. 18 years with UnityPoint Health and the Community Cancer Center.
Abbey: I’ve been a massage therapist for 15 years. 11.5 years with UnityPoint Health and the Community Cancer Center.
What can patients expect from a massage therapy session?
Generally we speak to the patient before the first session to find out what their goals are. If it is relief from pain, stress or the side effects from treatment, or just time for themselves. Once we identify their goals we discuss what we will do and proceed by giving them care that is individualized to their goals.
In what ways can massage therapy benefit cancer patients, survivors and caregivers?
Benefits of massage therapy include reduction of side effects from treatment such as anxiety, pain, lymphedema and neuropathy. It also offers general well being at a very difficult time. Many times the touch patients receive during treatment (injections, radiation, etc.) is not a positive one. We can offer a nurturing and positive touch they greatly need during and after treatment. Massage therapy is also great for caregivers. They put so much of themselves into caring for their loved one, a massage gives them time to relax and receive a positive touch of their own. It is also a time to talk about their experiences with someone who can offer understanding and compassion.
What is your goal(s) when working with patients at the Community Cancer Center?
Our goals are always based on the patients goals. Whatever they are here for, we do our best to provide for them. Listening to their needs is our number one priority.
What is your favorite part about doing massage therapy at the Community Cancer Center?
The feeling that we truly make a difference and provide a positive moment in someone’s day. We love building these relationships that last and watching people heal and grow.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The staff at the Community Cancer Center is incredible to work with. We all want the best care for our patients and work together as a family to provide that. Cancer is such a scary word, but we feel massage therapy and other programs offered here can help lift people up and help them regain their lives.