The body of research on massage therapy and cancer is growing.
Research suggests that massage therapy may be helpful for common symptoms and side effects of cancer, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, and depression. Of these, some of the strongest research support is for relief of pain and anxiety. Check out the links below for some current research.


  • Case series: Conclusion was a drop in Pain, Nausea, Fatigue, Anxiety and Depression after a single session.
    Cassileth BR, Vickers AJ. Massage therapy for symptom control: outcome study at a major cancer center. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Sep 2004;28(3):244-9.


  • Randomized Controlled Trial: Conclusion: On massage days, drops in pain and nausea; increase in relaxation compared to non-massage days. (Group served as their own control on one day out of three.)
    Grealish L, Lomasney A, Whiteman B. Foot massage. A nursing intervention to modify the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer. Cancer Nurs. 2000 Jun;23(3):237-43.
  • Randomized Controlled Trial: Conclusion: In massage group, drops in anxiety, pain, NSAID use, BP. Increase in mood, relaxation. Nausea unchanged
    Post-White J, Kinney ME, Wavik K, Gau JB,Wilcox C, Lerner I. Therapeutic massage and healing touch improve symptoms in cancer. Integrative Cancer Therapies 2003;2(4):332-44.