Health Alert:

Coronavirus Information: Vaccinations | Testing | Safety Policies & Visitor Guidelines | Appointments & Scheduling | FAQs

Massage and Shiatsu Therapy

Complementary Oncology Massage Services

Penn Medicine is pleased to provide complementary oncology massages for our patients during their chemotherapy infusions at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, on a first come, first serve basis.

Please ask your chemotherapy nurse to page the massage therapist to come to your infusion suite for a session. 

Benefits of Oncology Massage

Massage is a hands-on therapy using light or rigorous touch, strokes, stretching, tapping, deep circular movements, vibrations or application of pressure.  Oncology massage is specifically for cancer patients going through treatment and is designed to meet your unique and changing needs.

The intensity and application of the techniques are adjusted to meet your needs and preferences, and to keep you safe and comfortable.

Some benefits of massage may include:

  • Reduced post-treatment fatigue
  • Reduced anxiety during treatment
  • Pain management
  • Reduced nausea
  • Improved peripheral neuropathy
You can always choose whether or not to receive massage. Participation is completely up to you.
  • You are in complete control of the sessions; deciding if and where you want to be touched.
  • Your comfort is the top priority.
  • All massage sessions are adjusted to avoid possible contraindication or harm; you should speak with your practitioner about conditions or issues you may be experiencing that could impact the complementary therapy.
  • Massage therapy is performed by qualified practitioners at no charge. To make an appointment, talk to the nursing staff on the unit. Sessions last from 10 to 60 minutes, and are offered two days a week.

Shiatsu Therapy

The Abramson Cancer Center offers shiatsu therapy as a form of regaining strength and function for patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or for those who are experiencing an extended illness.

This popular contemporary therapy is based in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The three major branches of TCM are Asian bodywork therapies (ABT), acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Similar to acupuncture, shiatsu focuses on treating the patient's bio-energetic system by applying finger and hand pressure to the body's energy channels (meridians) and the acupoints.

The goal of shiatsu therapy is to shift the imbalances within that bio-energetic system back into a state of balance, which enhances the ability of the body, mind and spirit to care for itself. Aside from being a pleasant experience, the benefits of shiatsu include:

  • Decreasing stress, anxiety, fear, frustration, depression and anger
  • Easing symptoms such as nausea/vomiting, aches/pains, and fatigue
  • Reestablishing a positive and healthy relationship with one's body
  • Stimulation of the body's natural healing capacity
  • Strengthening the immune system

A session begins with questions about your health history, illness and symptoms. A Chinese medicine assessment reveals the condition of your energy system and guides the shiatsu treatment. Most treatments are given in a massage chair, unless there are limitations. You remain clothed during a shiatsu treatment.


Meet the Penn Expert

Danica Arizola, LMT is a licensed massage therapist and Reiki master teacher who has been involved in therapeutic body work for over 9 years. Danica has had several years of experience in a medical setting and has worked at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse and Penn Therapy & Fitness at Radnor. Most recently, she participated in a research study sponsored by Unite for Her, helping gather data showing the benefits of oncology massage for breast cancer patients.

Danica wholeheartedly believes in the power of touch and the body's innate healing abilities. She makes every session meaningful so that clients feel a renewed sense of peace.

Thank You

Our thanks to the Breast Center of Excellence and The Hennes Fund for supporting this wonderful program.