There is often confusion regarding scope of practice among massage therapists, and among clients, particularly when it comes to breast massage, which has previously been seen purely as sensual massage. It isn’t an area that is included in basic massage training despite the many forms of tissue dysfunction that can occur in the breast. Offering therapeutic breast massage as part of a client’s treatment plan, with informed consent and within an ethical framework, can be hugely beneficial. Obviously the therapist must have undergone specialist training in specific techniques and be able to offer medical reasoning , taking into account both physiological and psychological factors, but even then, the most effective therapists may have difficulty in meeting the needs of female clients due to social beliefs about touching the breasts.
POTENTIAL BARRIERS TO BREAST MASSAGE
BENEFITS OF BREAST MASSAGE
AFTER BREAST CANCER
One in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and this can cause chronic shoulder pain and reduced range of motion (particularly abduction) following chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
Manual lymphatic drainage, myofascial release and scar tissue release can all be beneficial to clients with cancer to overcome the side effects of treatments eg.scar tissue overgrowth, removal of muscle and fascia, pain and decreased mobility. Some of these issues can still occur years later, encouraging postural problems eg. forward head, shoulder protraction or elevation.
If seeking massage therapy to help with symptoms related to cancer, ensure that you see a therapist who is qualified in oncology massage.