Physiotherapy & Cancer
Integrative oncology is the combination of mainstream cancer care with evidence based alternative therapies including acupuncture, massage therapy, physical fitness measures such as Pilates and Yoga and mind body modalities such as meditation to minimize the side effects of cancer treatment and enhance overall quality of life.
Massage Therapy/Manual Therapy
Medical cancer treatment often involves surgery to excise metastases. Surgical procedures leave superficial scars on the skin. The morphology or composition of scars is analogous to an iceberg, meaning that the magnitude of the scar is far more expansive below the surface. Muscle, connective tissue and fascia below the skin’s surface is fibrosed together and wound tightly into a scar tissue mass that may be twenty time more expansive than the scar visible on the skin.
The impact to the patient is limited tissue mobility and sometimes even limited joint mobility, as in mastectomy patients who often experience shoulder girdle restrictions owning to scar tissue within the chest wall.
Manual therapy interventions including massage therapy and myofascial release technique are effective for minimizing scar tissue and restoring function the trunk and shoulder girdle after a mastectomy.
Acupuncture is also effective for this, working by altering the activity of fibroblasts; the cells that lay down connective tissue, acupuncture can be beneficial in minimize tension along scar tissue lines.