Massage therapy services are available to any cancer client, adult and youth, regardless of where they receive their medical treatment and are provided at no cost, as are all Dempsey Center programs and services. Like other Complementary Therapies, our patients seek massage therapy primarily to relieve cancer related symptoms including anxiety, fatigue, musculoskeletal tension, difficulty sleeping, and pain.
Research suggest that massage therapy may be helpful for common symptoms and side effects of cancer, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, and depression.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has more in-depth information on massage and its benefits. Click here for more information.
The Dempsey Center’s oncology massage therapy program is unique in Maine. Its staff includes licensed massage therapists with extensive professional experience working with cancer patients in a variety of hospital-based and clinical settings. The specialized oncology massage therapy trainings completed by Dempsey Center staff are approved by the Society for Oncology Massage, a national organization promoting research, education, and consistent standards of care. Oncology massage therapists integrate input from clients’ oncology medical teams in devising and adapting treatment plans as needed.
Complementary Therapies Coordinator
(207) 795-2861, [email protected]
Kathleen is a licensed massage therapist specializing in working with adults and youth living with cancer from diagnosis through survivorship. She completed her training in massage therapy in Ithaca, NY in 2008, and began specializing in oncology massage therapy starting in 2011. She has completed additional training in acupressure therapy in Boston, MA and in China. Kathleen has extensive experience adapting massage therapy for clients in a variety of hospital-based settings, including infusion centers, inpatient units, outpatient settings, and bone marrow transplant units. Through the Dempsey Center, she also supports clients at end of life, including those in hospice care. Her practice is built on providing safe and effective work through touch that is compassionate, client-centered, and relaxing. In addition to providing massage, Kathleen assists with coordination of complementary therapies for the Dempsey Center.
Oncology Massage Therapist
Maggie is a teacher and therapist with 31 years of experience facilitating the health and well-being of individuals through body oriented approaches to therapy and education. She is a licensed massage therapist, with specialized training in oncology massage with Tracy Walton, and is a board certified (IASI) structural integration practitioner, a bodywork approach based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf. She has a BFA in Dance and a MA in Movement Therapy, and special interest in mindfulness and sensory awareness practice.
Acupuncture is offered the Dempsey Center to support the medical treatment cancer patients receive. Like massage and Reiki, acupuncture can help manage the side effects of cancer, and cancer treatment. Our acupuncturists are state licensed, masters level trained or have completed medical acupuncture certification.
Research suggests that acupuncture can benefit cancer patients. It’s been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy and can improve other common symptoms of cancer treatments, such as stress and insomnia . In addition, research has shown that acupuncture can relieve pain, possibly by triggering the body’s pain-killing chemicals and by inducing the release of chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer within the last 24 months.
The Dempsey Center offers a group-setting model of acupuncture most often described as community acupuncture. Five people at a time – in lounge-type chairs and fully clothed – are treated, in sequence, by one acupuncturist. Each person is in the chair for approximately 30 minutes. In our South Portland location, acupuncture is provided through a partnership with Jade Integrated Health.
In addition to therapeutic massage and acupuncture, the Dempsey Center offers Reiki services to people with cancer and their caregivers. Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) is a gentle relaxation therapy intended to relieve stress and discomfort. In a Reiki session, you will be encouraged to relax, fully clothed, as a practitioner’s hands are lightly placed on or near your head, shoulders, arms, legs, and back to create a space for the balance and clarity of your energy system.
Research shows that Reiki is associated with perceptions of improved sleep and relaxation, decreased pain and stress, and increased happiness. People often report feeling more energetic, relaxed, peaceful, or happy after a Reiki session
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has more in-depth information on Reiki and its benefits. Click here for more information.