Welcome ~

Thank you for visiting our website. The Society of Oncology Massage Board of Directors invite you to explore the various tabs, links, and articles as you learn more about us and all that we have to offer. Our focus is primarly the education of massage therapists to provide safe massage for people at every stage of their cancer journey through our foundation and supplemental courses provided by S4OM Recognized Education Providers. Our locator service provides an easy way to find S4OM approved practitioners around the world. 

During the week of August 5th, S4OM was represented in the exhibit halls at both the World Massage Festival and the AMTA National Convention. We were able to share information about our Recognized Education Providers, our Foundation Course as well as Supplemental Courses offered, and the way that Massage Therapists can be listed as Preferred Practitioners along with the locator service and hospitals incorporating oncology massage.  The Board of Directors annually looks for opportunities to share the Society for Massage Therapy with others and will be doing so again this coming fall. 

In news about the Specialty Certification initiative with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, the PILOT oncology massage certification exam continues while a S4OM task force works on a curriculum and then the exam questions for a S4OM based specialty certification.

Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our 2018 Oncology Massage Healing Summit
Opening the Circle, Expanding the Tribe


Once again we came together at Northwestern Health Sciences University in
Bloomington, Minnesota, April 27 to 29, 2018 for our gathering.


Much appreciation to the Summit Planning Committee:
Julie Streeter, Jen Green, Stacey Schlutz,
Lucille Eddy, Amy Helmuth, Cindy van Laar, and Lucy Allen
with Patti Corscaden (Board Liaison)

Plans are already being made for our next gathering April 25-28, 2020.
We look forward to seeing you there!

We ended our time together with a traditional blessing of the hands and some attendees requested a copy of it, so here it is:

Blessing of the Hands

When we reach our hands out to provide care, to do our work as part of the care of others, we are saying to others, you are important to us, and you are cared for by the efforts of many who value you and your needs.

Holding your hands in front of you observe their appearance and think of all that you do with your hands each day which contributes to the needs of our patients and families physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Prayer
Blessed be the works of your hands.
Blessed be these hands that have touched life.
Blessed be these hands that have nurtured creativity.
Blessed be these hands that have held pain.
Blessed be these hands that have embraced with compassion.
Blessed be these hands that have closed in anger.
Blessed be these hands that have planted new seeds.
Blessed be these hands that have carried out endless tasks as part of caring for our community.
Blessed be these hands that have reached out and been received.
Blessed be the hands that hold the promise of the future.
Blessed be the works of your hands.


Adapted from:
– a prayer used in a liturgy for healthcare workers from the National Health Ministries of the Presbyterian Church USA, originally adapted from “In Praise of Hands” by Diann Neu, Waterwheel, Winter, 1989.


S4OM is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization and gratefully appreciates any and all tax deductible donations. 

Testimonials & Quotes

My oncology massage work, while seemingly devoted to the healing of others, is also a touchstone for my own healing. Time and time again, a client comes in with a body needing massage, a body carrying the intensity of the deepest health crisis imaginable. My job is to put my hands on this body and invite in some ease and some comfort. For each person, I make a humble offering of my own companionship. My hope is that this makes a difference to them. But I am certain it makes a difference to me.

Somehow, this routine with my hands and heart has helped me grow and to heal some of my own wounds. Contact with others requires contact between me and myself. I know myself better than I did before I started this work. My affection for myself and for everyone else has grown over the years. And my hands, constantly in contact with the changing waters of clients' experiences, have learned to trust the sacred rhythm of people moving in and through and out of my life.

I have learned that the only thing I have to offer sometimes is this deeply cultivated affection. And my companionship. I don't have to think of anything else more helpful, cleverer or in service of a higher good. My presence honors all that my client is, was and will be. It honors everything that goes on in their bodies. To these, it is simple to offer myself. It is all I have and all I can do. And sometimes, sometimes it is enough.

My oncology massage work

My oncology massage work

Tracy Walton, LMT

While [in oncology massage training] in Arizona, I was assigned to massage a woman who was to receive packed platelets. Her platelet count was so low she was forbidden to brush her teeth because she might bleed out. The only safe massage was to gently move the hair on her skin with a little oil. I found her in a hospital bed in a corner of the infusion room. I could see the anxiety in her face and on her heart rate and blood pressure monitors. After the nurses started the infusion, I pulled the curtain and started to massage her face and scalp, arms and hands, lower legs and feet, and finally, her back. I could feel her become progressively more relaxed and I could see the change in both monitors. By the time I reached the middle of her back, she was sound asleep. What a demonstration of the power of touch and what a demonstration that often less is truly more.

While in oncology massage

While in oncology massage

Bruce Hopkins, LMT 2

She is much older than her 9 years, the girl who always accompanies her mom to chemo and radiation treatments. She acts as her translator, interpreting news and information that a young child should not be exposed to. One day, I was walking with the girl when we passed a patient who was very disfigured from a large tumor on the neck. Putting my arm around her, I quietly said, “You are too young to be exposed to so much illness.”She looked at me and said, “It's OK, this is my normal.”

Whenever I see her, I bring the girl into my massage room for a few minutes of pampered attention. I became her caregiver. She is such a delight to talk to. You have “hands of clouds” she told me, the first time I massaged her back.

She is much older than he

She is much older than he

Toni Muirhead, LMT 3

A year after treatment, Pat returned to massage. By then the meaning of the sessions had changed. Before cancer, the massages had been an extension of her face paced life. When the sessions ended, she immediately stepped back into the high stress, all relaxation quickly forgotten. Now, time spent receiving massage is sacred and meditative. Pat is in the here and now; she tunes into her body; and touch is an experience that deepens her awareness. These days Pat enjoys the good feelings massage brings to her body and holds on to those sensations as long as possible. Bodywork lets her let go of the tension, anxiety and fear that accumulated over months of treatment.

A year after treatment, Pat

A year after treatment, Pat

Gayle MacDonald, LMT 1

Alicia was a long-term client. I worked with her all through her chemo and radiation for breast cancer. Some months after treatment, she was back in the hospital with metastases to the brain. After several tries at curative therapies she decided to go home. Her husband called and asked if I would give her a massage every day until she died. Over the next three days she became less and less responsive, while periodically becoming very agitated. Each day massage brought her peaceful sleep. On the fourth day she was unresponsive and her breathing was a death rattle. As I worked, I was sure that a deep and distant part of her knew I was there. She died peacefully a short time later. It is a transcendent experience to stand at the gateway between life and death.

Alicia was a long-term

Alicia was a long-term

Bruce Hopkins, LMT 2

After finding a lump in my right breast, I had a partial mastectomy with no lymph nodes removed. I was scheduled for 33 days of radiation. The doctors told me that radiation would cause my breast to shrink and become hard. Since I was a practicing massage therapist, I requested permission from my surgeon and radiologist to do self-massage to the breast and both were supportive. Three days after surgery, I began gentle massage around the incision. When I saw the surgeon two weeks later, he commented on how well I had healed. I reminded him of the massage - he just laughed.

A week later, I began six and a half weeks of radiation. Every day I gently massaged the entire breast without lotion, focusing on the breast being a loved part of my body. After the massage, I sought out the areas that hurt, generally sharp spots of pain at the lower bra line. I set my fingers on the spots and maintained gentle contact - they dissolved in seconds. My massage took two to three minutes, sometimes several times a day.

Each week I saw the radiologist. After three weeks he started commenting on the lack of redness - it finally appeared two weeks later. He suggested a lotion for dryness which I began using.

Two weeks after radiation was done, I saw the surgeon again. He could not believe the condition of my breast. What he saw and palpated was normal, soft tissue with a very light tan. He said this was the best tissue he had seen in twelve years of cancer surgery. I reminded him that I had performed breast massage throughout the process. He did not laugh this time. The oncology radiologist had similar comments.

A month after radiation, to keep the right pectoralis major from binding, I added Myofascial Release for two months. I am now two years cancer-free. I continued the massage for a year and a half before sore and dense tissue stopped appearing - even now I occasionally have to do some touch up. My breast looks and feels completely normal (except for the fact that I am missing pieces/parts). The surgical scar is soft and faint. There is no pain or discomfort and arm motion is completely normal.

My surgeon and radiologist are very impressed and are interested in using massage in treatment.

After finding a lump in my right breast

Susan Shields, LMT4

I worked with a quiet, middle-aged gentleman on the Radiation floor where I do gentle shoulder, neck and hand massage. Near the close of our 20 minutes, he was in tears - he was so grateful for relief from the pain of treatment. I was so touched, I was in tears. Later one of his family members called me to schedule a full body session for him. She explained that, much to the entire family's surprise, he had no pain that day and told them he felt nourished for the first time in his cancer treatment.

She went on to explain that he is not a man who would do anything like this for himself. They were all surprised he took me up on my offer for shoulder massage. When they asked him why he did, he said, “... because she looked at me, right in the eyes, and I thought maybe I was suppose to be touched today.”

I worked with a quiet, middle-aged gentleman

I worked with a quiet, middle-aged gentleman

Meg Robsahm, LMP

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands.

Make it your ambition to

Make it your ambition to

1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV)

When I focus on what is good today, I have a good day. When I focus on what is bad today, I have a bad day. If I focus on the problem, the problem increases. If I focus on the solution, the solution increases.

When I focus on what is good today

When I focus on what is good today

Alcoholics Anonymous

Each of us has a fire in our heart for something. Find yours and keep it lit.

Each of us has a fire in

Each of us has a fire in

Anonymous

A friend is someone who knows the song of your soul and sings it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

A friend is someone who

A friend is someone who

Anonymous

And finally, a thought for the end of life ..... "I forgive you. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. Goodbye."

And finally, a thought for

And finally, a thought for

Anonymous

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

We are what we repeatedly DO

We are what we repeatedly DO

Aristotle

If you see what you do each day as your way of loving the world and helping it heal, then life gets to be a lot different. The difference between burning up and burning out is the difference between loving what you are doing and not loving it.

If you see what you do each day

If you see what you do each day

Bernie Siegel, MD

It's not about curing the disease, but healing the life; then the physical benefits come.

It's not about curing the

It's not about curing the

Bernie Siegel, MD

To heal is to unify the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual selves into an integrated and harmonious whole. To cure is to eliminate a demonstrable disease process. One can be healed without being cured.

To heal is to unify the physical

To heal is to unify the physical

Bruce Hopkins, LMT

Happiness is a not a destination, but the journey. Dealing with cancer is both destination and journey. Medicine is concerned with the quality of the destination. Massage is concerned with the quality of the journey.

Happiness is a not a dest

Happiness is a not a dest

Bruce Hopkins, LMT

Massage soothes the body, easing mind and spirit. Mind and spirit, in turn, remind the body of its God given power to self-heal.

Massage soothes the body

Massage soothes the body

Bruce Hopkins, LMT

Oncology massage is sacred work. Thank you for your love made tangible.

Oncology massage is sacred

Oncology massage is sacred

Cancer Patient

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Though no one can go back

Though no one can go back

Carol Bard

Where there's surrender, synchronicity tends to follow.

Where there's surrender

Where there's surrender

Cynthia Bourgeault

Freedom from illness is the foremost good fortune. Contentment is the foremost wealth. Trust is the foremost kinship. Seeing what actually exists is the foremost ease.

Freedom from illness is

Freedom from illness is

Dhammapada 15

We think work with the brain is more worthy than work with the hands. Nobody who thinks with his hands could ever fall for this.

We think work with the

We think work with the

E.F. Schumacher

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within.

People are like stained

People are like stained

Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Forever is composed of nows.

Forever is composed of

Forever is composed of

Emily Dickinson

...science is confirming what we know in our hearts: that, as psychiatrist James Gordon put it, "massage is medicine."

science is confirming

science is confirming

George Howe Colt

Whether we think we can or cannot, we are right.

Whether we think we can

Whether we think we can

Henry Ford

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

A happy person is not

A happy person is not

Hugh Downs

You may not know that the world needs you, but it does. For no one else can smile your smile, say your piece, shine your light.... you are unique and you alone can fill your place. If you were not here to shine your light, what would happen to pilgrims passing by your empty place in the darkness, without your light to help them on their way? You may not know that the world needs you, but it does.

You may not know that the

You may not know that the

Inspired by an Old Poem

Touch was never meant to be a luxury. It is a basic human need. It is an action that validates life and gives hope to both the receiver and the giver The healing of touch is reciprocal.

Touch was never meant to

Touch was never meant to

Irene Smith

No single therapeutic agent can be compared in efficiency with this familiar but perfect tool...the human hand. If half as much research had been expended on the principles governing manual treatment as upon pharmacology, the hand would be esteemed today on a par with drugs in acceptability and power.

No single therapeutic age

No single therapeutic age

J. Madison Taylor, M.D. 1908

Some say, after we have mastered the wind, the waves. the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Some say, after we have

Some say, after we have

Jesuit Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

You don't get to choose how you are going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you are going to live. NOW!

You don't get to choose

You don't get to choose

Joan Baez

Eternity is not the hereafter..... this is it. If you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere.

Eternity is not the hereafter

Eternity is not the hereafter

Joseph Campbell

Celebrate life by living to the edge of all possibility.

Celebrate life by living

Celebrate life by living

Judy Arntson, CMT

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

Kindness in words creates

Kindness in words creates

Lao-Tzu

For fast acting relief, try slowing down.

For fast acting relief

For fast acting relief

Lilly Tomlin

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Pain is inevitable

Pain is inevitable

M. Kathleen Casey

May the work of your hands be a sign of gratitude and reverence to the human condition.

May the work of your hand

May the work of your hand

Mahatma Gandhi

It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing.... You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

It's the action, not the

It's the action, not the

Mahatma Gandhi

The true voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.

The true voyage of discovery

The true voyage of discovery

Marcel Proust

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed with the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. Throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade-winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you

Twenty years from now you

Mark Twain

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Be careful about reading

Be careful about reading

Mark Twain

Live with intention, walk to the edge, listen hard, practice wellness, play with abandon, laugh, choose with no regret, continue to learn, appreciate your friends, do what you love, live as if this is all there is.

Live with intention, walk

Live with intention, walk

Mary Anne Radmacher

When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.

When our eyes see our hands

When our eyes see our hands

Michael Bridge

We serve life, not because it is broken, but because it is holy.

We serve life, not because

We serve life, not because

Mother Theresa

Perhaps we are too embarrassed or to frightened of the consequences of showing that we actually care. But why not risk it anyway? Begin, today. Carry out a random act of seemingly senseless kindness, with no expectation of reward or punishment. Safe in the knowledge that one day someone, somewhere might do the same for you.

Perhaps we are too embarrassed

Perhaps we are too embarrassed

Princess Diana

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

I slept and dreamt that l

I slept and dreamt that l

Rabindranath Tagore

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

It is one of the most beautiful

It is one of the most beautiful

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Deep peace of the rising star to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the rolling wave to you. Deep peace of the gentle earth to you. Deep peace of the bright blue sky to you. Deep peace of the gentle breeze to you. Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you. May peace fill your soul and make you whole.

Deep peace of the rising

Deep peace of the rising

Saint Columbia

There is no profit in curing the body if in the process we destroy the soul.

There is no profit in curing

There is no profit in curing

Samuel Golter, City of Hope

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.

All that we are is the

All that we are is the

The Buddha

Treat each person as you would an old friend.

Treat each person as you

Treat each person as you

The Dalai Lama

Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.

Our prime purpose in life

Our prime purpose in life

The Dalai Lama

May you be at peace. May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing to all beings.

May you be at peace

May you be at peace

The Metta of the Buddha

The real hope is not in something we think we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see.

The real hope is not in

The real hope is not in

Thomas Merton

The secret of a happy life is to enjoy the passing of every hour.

The secret of a happy life

The secret of a happy life

Unknown

Touch me and you touch my heart. Touch my heart and you touch my soul.

Touch me and you touch my

Touch me and you touch my

Unknown

To be "at peace" does not mean to be in a place where there is not noise, trouble and hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things, and still be calm in your heart.

To be

To be "at peace"

Unknown

You can complain because roses have thorns. Or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.

You can complain because

You can complain because

Unknown