Massage in the Oncology SettingMassage for People

Living with Cancer


A Foundational Training Course for Massage Practitioners and Students, Bodyworkers, and Other Professional Touch Therapists

Curriculum by Gayle MacDonald


30 CE Hours



Course Description: Comfort-oriented massage or touch can be administered to people with cancer regardless of the severity of their condition. The purpose of this class is to train touch therapists in the basics of oncology massage. The experience derived from this training will create newfound confidence in bodyworkers about working with clients, particularly private practice clients, who have cancer or are recovering from it. Therapists who focus on hospice and hospital work will also find this course to be valuable for their special needs patients. 

    The curriculum includes information on:

    • opening the heart to those with serious illness
    • metastasis
    • adjustments that must be made for clients who:
      • are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation or who have a history of it
      • have had surgical or medical procedures
      • are at risk for lymphedema
    • how to perform intake with clients who have a history of cancer treatment

Significant time is devoted to hands-on practice including providing a supervised relaxation massage to someone with cancer or a history of cancer.

Enrollment Requirement: The course is open to licensed, certified, or professional massage therapists; massage students enrolled in a professional training program who have completed Swedish Massage I or the equivalent; bodyworkers certified in other non-invasive, gentle modalities; or other therapists by permission of the instructor.

Home Study: This part of the course involves reading from Medicine Hands: Massage for People with Cancer, (3rd Ed.) - (2014, Findhorn Press). Be sure to have the 3rd Edition, which can be ordered using the Amazon link at the S4OM website: Students will also be required to view two video lectures. After each chapter and video, a 5-item quiz will be given

Required reading:

  • Chapter 4: The Side Effects of Cancer Treatment: Why The Need for a Less Demanding Approach
  • Chapter 5: Pressure, Site and Position: An Organizational Framework
  • Chapter 7: First Do No Harm: Adjusting for the Common Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
  • Chapter 8: The New Normal: The Role of Massage During Recovery.

  • Videos:

  • Metastasis
  • Surgery

  • See the Class Schedule for current offerings  and fees for this course.