“It is not…necessary to avoid massage the day before or the day after chemotherapy, assuming that the practitioner is trained to adjust their work in a way that will be safe and supportive for the client.”
Gayle MacDonald


Who is Oncology Massage Limited (OML)?

Oncology Massage Limited (OML) is a nationally and internationally recognised not for profit training charity. It is dedicated to training fully qualified massage and Bowen therapists to safely and effectively treat those with a diagnosis or history of cancer. OML aims to ensure national benchmarks and standards of care are met by its graduate Oncology Massage Therapists. The four module program is based on a program that has been running for more than 10 years in the United States. 

Importantly, formal training in this specialised area provides Oncology Massage Therapists with the awareness and expertise to modify and adjust a conventional massage for the client with a history or diagnosis of cancer while being mindful of any contra-indications for massage. This ensures the provision of a safe and effective treatment for the client.

OML are leaders on the world stage, with a nationally standardised training program for Oncology Massage Therapists in Australia and New Zealand.  Globally, we are the only Oncology Massage training organisation that can offer the same program across their entire country and therefore demand the same standards of care and professionalism from the therapists we train.

OML's training programs are internationally recognised by the Society for Oncology Massage - S4OM.  We proudly uphold the standards of the Society for Oncology Massage (S4OM), which exists to support and educate massage therapists, consumers and health professionals about the value and specific considerations and applications of oncology massage. Their vision is to support the safe delivery of massage to people who have been diagnosed with cancer, to promote an oncology massage education standard and to collaborate in research are values that are evident in OML's operations.

OML has a comprehensive facilitator training program that requires an advanced level of Oncology Massage training and experience, advance MLD training, a Cert IV in Training and Assessment, and completion of our internal training process. This program involves attendance at a minimum of four of each module, with increasing levels of responsibilities as they progress, and then bi-annual performance appraisals. This level of facilitator training is vital to maintain the survivorship, treatment and psychological management in a professional and consistent manner.

If you are a massage therapist, qualified Bowen or other tactile therapist and would like to specialise in Oncology Massage please visit the OM1 page to find out more about our training modules or Contact Us.


What does medical research say about Oncology Massage?

For symptom management, research has shown Oncology Massage improves the quality of life for people with a history or diagnosis of cancer.  It reduces the side effects experienced from conventional treatment of cancer and the symptoms of the disease process itself (Cassileth and Vickers, 2004)

  • Pain Improved 47%
  • Fatigue Improved 42%
  • Anxiety Improved 59%
  • Nausea Improved 51%
  • Depression Improved 48%
  • Other (including shortness of breath, memory problems, dry mouth or disturbed sleep) improved 48%

Light touch massage, as taught by Oncology Massage Limited (OML) was the most effective form of massage therapy offered in this study.

Cassileth BR, Vickers AJ, 2004, Massage Therapy for Symptom Control: Outcome Study at a Major Cancer Centre, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 28:3:244-250


Updated 14/Dec/2017

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