Oncology Massage Therapy

A 4-day Intensive on Caring for Clients with Cancer

with Cindy Gillan and Nanci Newton of Tracy Walton & Associates, LLC

August 11-14, 2016 | Thursday-Sunday | 32 CE contact hours | $697


As the role of massage therapy in cancer care expands, it is an exciting time to provide oncology massage. In this intensive course, we combine the art and practice of touch to create safe, effective massage sessions for clients with cancer and cancer histories. In a lively, supportive learning environment, participants learn simple, concrete ways to adapt massage to cancer and cancer treatment.

We look closely at the dynamics of cancer spread, shining new light on the old myth that massage was contraindicated, and we introduce several approaches for educating the public about this common concern. We then modify traditional western massage techniques for common client presentations, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, bone metastasis, vital organ involvement, and lymphedema risk. Unique positioning and bolstering techniques are introduced for pain relief, sleep support, and overall comfort.

gillan_cindyWe introduce guidelines for a range of client presentations, from robust to medically frail. These guidelines may be used effectively in a variety of massage settings, including the hospital, private practice, spa or retreat center, franchise, and hospice.

A balanced approach to learning blends lecture, spirited discussion, and hands-on work. In-depth homework is assigned prior to the course (instructional videos, 2-3 hrs. total view time) and during the course (about 1 hr. of evening homework on days 1, 2, and 3).

Massage therapists leave with essential oncology massage tools: sample protocols, a client intake form, follow-up intake questions, a visual decision tree, clearly described pressure guidelines, supervised hands-on practice experiences, and an extensive training manual.

New in 2016 – Peer Practice Clinic:
In a peer practice clinic (PPC), students pair up and work with each other in two supervised sessions on the final day of the course. Using realistic client case scenarios, each student gives an oncology massage to a fellow student and receives an oncology massage from that student. With teacher support and supervision, students practice interviewing, communicating with a client, and adapting massage therapy to cancer symptoms and side effects of treatment.

In 2016, this simulated clinic format, with students participating in two hands-on sessions, replaces our former “traditional clinic,” which was a single practice session with an actual oncology client volunteer from the community.

nancy_newton_picRead more about this change in clinic format here:

Read more about the course, topics, teachers, and FAQs here:

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the basic steps of cancer metastasis, and ease concerns that massage and increased circulation could spread cancer.
  • Communicate clearly about common massage therapy adjustments for cancer, using a Decision Tree and describing massage elements such as pressure, joint movement, site, and position in plain language.
  • Modify massage therapy for typical cancer presentations, including accessible primary tumor sites, bone involvement, and vital organ involvement.
  • Adapt massage therapy to common side effects and cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.


Prerequisites:  Graduation from a 500-hour professional massage therapy program or equivalent. Advanced massage therapy students who have completed pathology coursework and some clinical experience, by approval of the instructor. Please contact Tracy Walton & Associates to see if it is a good fit. Other health professionals, also with instructor approval.

Materials:  After registration, you will receive a Student Packet by email that lists the massage supplies to bring, a web link with the pre-assignment, and other course logistics.

Class Schedule:
Thursday, August 11: 9:00am-6:00pm  |  Friday-Saturday, August 12-13: 8:30am-6:00pm  |  Sunday, August 14: 8:00am-4:00pm

About Tracy Walton & Associates, LLC:
Founder and Director Tracy Walton is is a researcher, writer, award-winning educator, and specialist in massage therapy and cancer care. A dynamic voice for the power of touch, she is the author of the pathology textbook, Medical Conditions and Massage Therapy:  A Decision Tree Approach, (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011).

The teaching team for Tracy Walton & Associates is enthusiastic, talented and dedicated to the practice of massage therapy with medically complex clients. Each brings unique gifts to the classroom, but they work as a team and share many common qualities: approachability, friendliness, thoughtful and unassuming leadership, and years of clinical experience. They have committed themselves to their students, the curriculum, and the long view of massage practice within integrative health care. Without exception, our teachers earn warm reviews from appreciative students. It is a treat to share clinic and classroom time with them.

Tracy Walton & Associates, LLC is an Approved CE Provider with NCBTMB (#283404-00), and is approved by the Florida Board of Massage Therapy (provider #50-13512). Selected training is recognized by the Society for Oncology Massage. More at: www.tracywalton.com


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