Stephanie Mabry, a licensed massage therapist with UC Health and the integrative medicine program, offers massage therapy two days a week (Tuesday and Friday) to patients with cancer who have been admitted to the 8 Northwest floor of the hospital.
“Their physicians put an order into their electronic medical record, which gives me an opportunity to review their charts and make sure there’s no reason a patient should not receive massage therapy, like for example if he or she has a blood clot,” she says. “I then visit with the patient to find out what types of problems they’re experiencing, how I can best assist them and schedule a time to administer the massage.”
Mabry says the therapy is done in the patient’s room, in their bed or in a chair, and that she massages the patient’s back, feet, legs, neck or shoulders—wherever the patient requests or is experiencing tension or discomfort.
“These are not typical, deep tissue massages,” she adds. “These massages are delivered to provide comfort and reduce anxiety. Integrative medicine studies have shown this type of therapy is beneficial in reducing pain for oncology patients. We do collect data from patients by assessing their discomfort and stress levels before and after massage; however, many patients are asleep by the time we leave.”
“I suppose that shows us it is effective,” she laughs.
Mabry says they’re able to offer the program because of generous donations, and they’d like to expand to offer the therapy more days and to additional clinical areas, eventually, as they gain more support.
“We’re so happy to offer this program to patients and help them in their journey to wellness,” she says.