In the winter of 2010, a group of Oncology Massage Therapists got together to honor our family and friends who were battling cancer. One friend, Rob Hill inspired us (see on Read Rob’s Blog below to hear his story) and we decided it was time to make a difference. We helped form the Rob Hill Just Believe (RHJB) Foundation through the generosity of Rob’s mother, Betty Kuhl. RHJB is, in part, dedicated to providing our program at Texas Oncology Midtown location. In order to expand our program to other infusion rooms in the area, we soon after created the Oncology Massage Alliance and hope to expand to many other locations throughout Texas and into other states.
OMA’s Mission, Vision and Goals
To help reduce stress, promote healing, provide emotional support and improve quality of life for cancer patients through oncology massage therapy.
To increase public awareness of the healing power of massage therapy by oncology trained massage therapists.
Goals for 2020 and beyond
These milestones have been achieved since 2011:
- Aid and collaborate with the medical staff of cancer treatment centers by providing oncology-trained massage therapists who administer complimentary hand and foot massage therapy to over 20,000 cancer patients and caregivers.
- Provide safe, relaxing hand and foot massage sessions to patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy while in the cancer and hospital settings.
- Offer financial assistance to licensed massage therapists for advanced training in oncology massage.
- Give back to communities by participating in community outreach events that would help spread the word about massage therapy for cancer survivors.
- Help educate patients, caregivers, facilities and healthcare providers about the benefits that oncology massage can bring to those affected by cancer with the goal that these facilities would include massage therapy as part of their integrative oncology care plan for all patients.
We are pleased to announce we will advance our mission by assisting those cancer centers that wish to enhance patient care and advance accreditation objectives to adopt their own oncology massage program. To assist cancer centers in this endeavor, at the end of the OMA 2020 fiscal year (Jan-Dec) OMA will be available as a resource outlined below:
- Provide a resource for cancer centers and hospitals to recruitment oncology-trained massage therapists for hire.
- Provide example programs and example contracts that can be negotiated and adapted by their internal administration and foundation resources that will meet their specific needs.
- Provide guidance to establish forward looking cancer centers with their own oncology massage program by contracting directly with therapists as Independent Contractors for the 2021 fiscal year.
OMA will continue working with massage therapists and our local community by maintaining the following services;
- Provide a community for massage therapists to network and make connections as well as to develop their oncology massage skills.
- Serve as a resource to the general public in order to locate private practice oncology-trained massage therapists.
- Offer support to qualified and licensed massage therapists who would like to provide these services at facilities in their own local areas.
The Program Template
Oncology massage therapy is a type of massage that is specific to a person who is living with cancer and for those who have had a history of cancer. This comfort-oriented massage is tailored for each individual, from those in active treatment to those in recovery or survivorship, as well as for those at the end of life. Adjustments to the massage, such as type of pressure and avoidance of affected areas in the body as well as side effects from medications and treatments are taken into account so that a safe and beneficial massage can be given. A properly trained oncology massage therapist can safely provide comfort, stress reduction and relaxation at any stage of a cancer journey.
Oncology Massage Alliance (OMA) will help oncology massage therapists to enter into a contract with their local cancer facility centers using our program as a template. We encourage the oncology massage program to offer no-cost hand and foot massages to anyone undergoing cancer treatment while in the infusion centers and radiation areas. The local therapist would offer compassionate and skilled touch that would help decrease stress to cancer patients during chemotherapy and pre-and post-radiation treatments. By providing this service at no charge to patients and their caregivers, therapists can help lessen the stress of additional financial burdens. In addition, an oncology massage presence in medical facilities brings awareness to the public about the benefits of oncology massage therapy for cancer survivors.
Oncology Massage Services:
OMA aspires to help oncology massage therapists partner with their local healthcare institutions, professionals and insurance companies to procure enough funding so that oncology massage therapy will be included in every patient’s cancer care plan. Once their program has been established, we believe that the services that are valued by patients will encourage healthcare institutions to procure and expand oncology massage services through a variety of options:
- To obtain oncology massage therapy services from oncology-trained massage therapists in their facilities.
- To hire oncology massage therapists as independent contractors; OMA would simply provide recruitment services, professional massage therapy continuing education support, and consultation if requested.
- To use the OMA program as a starting point in creating an oncology massage program in their facility that meets their needs.
Oncology Massage Alliance, a 501(c)3 Federal tax exemption nonprofit, a State of Texas and State of Oregon registered nonprofit foundation.