For those fighting breast cancer, for those recovering and for those supporting people going through it, the journey is very personal and specific to each individual. Finding ways to care for oneself, or one’s loved one in a personalized, thoughtful way is very important.
The experience can be fraught with fear, loneliness, anxiety, anger, helplessness, confusion and a drastically altered self image. Connection, ease, understanding, clarity and acceptance are vital in making the experience as positive and forward-moving as possible.
Along with Sara’s recommendation of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, massage and light touch are very helpful for many reasons. Again, massage activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System which takes us out of “fight or flight” mode, it increases the brain chemical dopamine which gives a sense of well being, and it increases the number of protective white blood cells that boost the immune system and help destroy invading cells.
Perhaps most simply, massage can give a feeling of connection and belonging. It can help a person deal with how her body and body image is changing.
It’s important to be careful about what kind of massage is given, as each person’s body is reacting differently to treatment. Some may prefer light touch, or holding techniques, while others may want more active touch. ( If lymph nodes have been removed, finding a therapist specializing in Lymphatic Drainage can drastically speed healing, and reduce swelling.)
Comfort, listening, thoughtfulness, understanding.