The Future of Oncology Massage
The Society for Oncology Massage (S4OM) “Visioning Conference” was an unforgettable experience. Held in Sarasota, FL at the Center for Building Hope, the conference served to share ideas, solve problems, and discuss research and education standards for a field that although is growing in demand, still faces many challenges along the road to allopathic adoption. This was a defining moment where we sat down and began to evaluate important topics such as outreach, fundraising, marketing, accreditation, research and healthcare policy.
All of the attendees agreed and understood the importance of oncology massage and the value it adds to healthcare, as well as the increasing demand for it. The conference was in an open discussion café style setup where we had the opportunity to discuss the role S4OM has in the evolution of oncology massage and what the industry's current position is including the roles of those involved play, from the oncology massage therapist to the board and S4OM as a whole. This was a legendary first-step taken to shape the foreseeable future where oncology massage will inevitably be a vital aspect of the healthcare landscape.
One of the things I learned and appreciated was the passion that these oncology massage therapists have for what they do, and their genuine desire to give care to those going through despair that a disease such as cancer causes; it made my heart warm. Patients, care givers, families, nurses, and doctors see the countless proof of positive results in oncology massage. Still, many of these oncology massage therapists provide their services for free, because in many states, the healthcare system does not consider their practice ‘a need’. Despite this, they continue because they care.
My presence in this conference was unique. Even though I was the ‘outsider’ (because I seemed to be the only person in the group that was not a massage therapist), I felt at home during the span of 3 days that the conference was held. I was able to participate in all of the topics, as a woman, as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a marketing consultant, and as a partner of a skin care company that cares about our healthcare system just as much as they do. We might have to push legislation a while longer, until this genuine group of healthcare practitioners are recognized as a valuable component in oncology healthcare. They are here to stay and we support them unconditionally. For more information on S4OM’s mission and outreach activities, please visit them at s4om.org.