Course Offerings


Massage in the Oncology SettingMassage in the

Oncology Setting


A Six-day Hospital Intensive

Curriculum by Gayle MacDonald


45 CE Hours


Course Description: Comfort-oriented massage or touch can be administered to people with cancer regardless of the severity of their condition. In this course, participants will have the opportunity to apply their massage skills with in-patients receiving treatment for cancer. Massage will be given to people before, during, and after chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, and surgical and diagnostic procedures. Therapists will have a chance to use massage to support family caregivers and nurses as well.  

    At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

    • List the benefits of massage for those in treatment for cancer

    • List the massage adaptations necessary for people undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy

    • Employ standard precautions with patients who are highly immunosuppressed

    • Communicate professionally with health care staff

    • Record appropriately in the medical chart

    • Work around hospital furniture and medical devices

    • Give comfort-oriented massage to patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, diagnostic procedures, or hospitalized from the side effects of cancer treatment

    • Work independently in a medical setting

    • Describe the motivation to work with people who have cancer

These outcomes which will be assessed by a written exam, instructor observation, and participant self-evaluation.

Prerequisites: The course is open to licensed, certified, or professional massage therapists. All participants must complete Massage for the Chemotherapy Infusion Patient and have the instructors' permission to enroll in the training.

Participants will be required to:

  • Have regular access to e-mail

  • Show proof of professional liability insurance

  • Show proof of licensure, certification, or course of study

  • Complete OSHU on-line training modules

  • Show proof of current CPR training

  • Possess current TB screening documentation and show proof of immunity to MMR and chicken pox

  • Undergo a background check and drug screening analysis arranged by Oregon Health and Science University. The use of marijuana or recreational drugs is detected via the drug analysis and can eliminate potential interns from being accepted

  • Meet the physical and emotional rigors of an 8-hour hospital day

  • Adhere to OHSU policies of dress, grooming, infection control policies, and all other regulations listed for interns associated with OHSU

  • Read the class texts prior to the start of class. They can be ordered using the Amazon link at the S4OM website:


    Advance Reading

    • Healing into Life and Death: Chapters 1-8. This book is hard for some, easy and wonderful for others. Which ever camp you are in, you will need to read slowly. Just read a page at a time if that is all you can manage.

    • Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer, (3rd Ed.): Chapters 4-13.

    • Massage for the Hospital Patient and Medically Frail Client: Chapters 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12.

Course Overview: This is a 45-hour course that is conducted over six days in the hospital. Following is an overview of each day:

Day 1 - Introductions, review of clinical information related to the medical setting, hands-on practice focusing on use of light pressure, initial tour of the hospital units.

Day 2 - Hands-on practice using patient profiles. Introduction to seated massage for family caregivers and nurses. Orientation to the hospital units, standard precautions, working around hospital furniture, charting.

Day 3 - Foot massages to inpatients.

Day 4 - 5  Tailored massages to inpatients.

Day 6 - Working independently on inpatient units.

Fees: Total tuition — $1,095. Deposit to hold a spot — $500 (which applies toward the tuition). The deposit is non-refundable. If a student must drop the class and the instructor is able to fill the spot, 50% of the deposit will be refunded. The remaining tuition is due twelve weeks prior to the start of class. If, after this time, a student must drop, the tuition is non-refundable except in emergency circumstances. Please correspond with the instructors to make them aware of possible emergencies. Up to 50% of tuition will be refunded.

There are also additional costs due to TB screenings and tasks related to immunization history. These costs will be different for each person. There is a $25 fee for the hospital ID badge. The background check and drug screening are performed by OHSU free of charge.

See the Class Schedule for current offerings of this course.