Massage and Touch Techniques for Cancer and Supportive Care

Massage and Touch techniques for Cancer and Supportive Care (MTCSC) is a continuing education training for qualified Massage Therapists (see course entry requirements). The aim of this course is to train massage therapists in the fundamentals of providing safe and effective massage for people who have a history of cancer, and people with palliative conditions. Participants will gain specialized knowledge and skills necessary for working with clients with a history of cancer, including clients undergoing and post cancer treatment, cancer survivors, and clients receiving palliative care.

Ann Marie McGrath

Course Facilitator

Ann Marie McGrath RGN, BSc Complementary Medicine in Healthcare, Cert in Community and Adult Education. Professional Member of the Irish Massage Therapists Association (IMTA), and the Society for Oncology Massage (S4OM).

Ann Marie initially qualified as a nurse in the mid 1990’s. Having developed a keen interest in the holistic approach, Ann Marie pursued training in complementary therapies, qualifying in Massage Therapy, Reflexology and Aromatherapy. Subsequently, she trained in Massage for People living with Cancer, Advanced Clinical Aromatherapy, and the HEARTS Process. In 2009, Ann Marie completed an Honours degree in Complementary Medicine in Healthcare. Over the past 20 years, her work has focused on Cancer support, Palliative care and care of the Older Person.

Ann Marie currently works in the Therapies Department at Galway Hospice. Ann Marie brings to this training a wealth of knowledge and clinical experience working with clients living with cancer (at all stages) in a variety of settings including private practice, home care, cancer support and hospice care.

Course Design and Curriculum

Course content is based on international best practice and standards for foundation level oncology massage courses. Participants will learn about cancer, cancer treatments and side effects of treatments, general massage therapy adjustments, clinical considerations and massage therapy modifications related to disease and treatment side effects, administrative considerations, and comprehensive practical skills for planning and delivering effective massage sessions for clients with a history of cancer.

The course is designed to build on massage therapists existing knowledge, skills, and experience in a supportive and interactive blended learning environment. There are two components to this course; Part 1 Foundational Theory is delivered online followed by Part 2 Practical Training facilitated In-Person over four days. All components of the training must be completed to achieve a certificate of completion.

MTCSC Part 1: Foundational Theory includes an introductory live online class, followed by self-directed e-learning to be completed prior to attending the practical training. Instruction and links to the e-learning modules will be provided during the “live” online class.

Course Introduction: Live Online Class facilitated via Zoom on Friday 30th August 10.00 – 11.00am

Self-directed e-learning: Three core modules including knowledge quizzes on the following topics:
• Module 1: Overview of Cancer – How Cancer starts and spreads in the body
• Module 2: Cancer Treatments – Main Cancer treatments and side effects of treatments
• Module 3: Clinical Considerations related to Cancer and Supportive Care

MTCSC Part 2: Practical Training Building on the knowledge gained from Part 1, the focus of the four-day practical training is to develop massage therapists’ skills through demonstration, hands on practice, group work, case studies, and a client clinic (working with clients with a history of cancer).
Topics include:
• Frameworks for oncology massage modifications
• Contraindications and specific clinical considerations including infection, blood clots, bone metastasis, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, and lymphoedema
• Palliative Care
• Self-care
• Effective communication, consent, confidentiality
• Client consultation, assessment, treatment planning and evaluation

Day 4 of the practical is dedicated to facilitating a client clinic for clients with a history of cancer. Clients will attend for an appointment for a comfort orientated massage session. Participants will conduct a session with a designated client including assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of a comfort orientated massage.

Course Entry Requirements

• Recognised Qualification in Massage Therapy aligned with the UK Ofqual Level 3 /National Framework of Qualifications Ireland/QQI Level 5
• Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance


• Continuous assessment of knowledge and understanding throughout the course through a combination of knowledge quizzes and collaborative group activities.
• Comprehensive practical component with ongoing observation and feedback of hands-on practice.
• Supervised client clinic

Course Dates and Fees

Facilitated online class: Friday 30th August – 11.00am

Practical Training: Friday 27th to Monday 30th September 2024 inclusive (9am to 5pm)

Location: Galway Hospice Day Care Room, Renmore, Galway H91 R2T0

Course Fees: €550. Installment Payments Available.

Please send copies of professional insurance and qualification in Massage Therapy via email to Participation in course is subject to receipt of above documents.

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