Cancer Care What Is Shiatsu for Cancer Patients? By UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, November 29, 2017 Battling cancer takes an enormous physical and mental toll, and it’s sometimes hard to find relief from cancer treatment’s side effects. While many Western forms of medicine focus on treating the disease itself, Eastern medicine seeks to bring the whole body back into balance. One form of Eastern medicine that can help ease cancer side effects is shiatsu. Shiatsu for cancer patients brings relief not only to your body but your mind as well. For more information about the benefits of shiatsu massage, contact the Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. What Is Shiatsu? In shiatsu, a form of massage therapy, trained therapists use their fingers to press on specific points of your body. Using direct pressure, the therapist may also knead or stretch your limbs. Benefits of Shiatsu Massage How can shiatsu help you? It offers a wide variety of benefits, from constipation relief to relaxation. Some forms of shiatsu are similar to acupuncture without the needles. People battling other health conditions often find relief through shiatsu massage. For example, shiatsu massage possibly relieves tight muscles by applying pressure to specific areas of the body. People who suffer severe headaches and rheumatoid arthritis also benefit from direct pressure applied to specific problem areas. Many people with chronic health issues, such as fibromyalgia, anxiety, and digestive problems also find relief with shiatsu massage as well How Can Shiatsu Help Cancer Side Effects? Although it is not a traditional form of managing cancer side effects, shiatsu treats a person’s physical and mental health. Improved sleep, higher energy, and reduced nausea are a few ways that shiatsu helps manage side effects following cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy. For patients undergoing cancer treatment, shiatsu massage can: Improve mood and lessen depression Decrease levels of pain Reduce the risk of lymphedema Provide an overall feeling of wellness If you or someone close to you is fighting cancer and searching for relief from the side effects of treatment, talk to your doctor about the benefits of shiatsu massage. For more information about the benefits of shiatsu massage, contact the Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.