(NAPSI)-Massage and exercise are both popular ways people stay healthy, but this year they are joining forces to help the fight against breast cancer in a nontraditional way.

Massage and Breast Cancer

A growing body of research shows massage can have serious health benefits for many people, including those battling breast cancer.

In a Mayo Clinic study published in the August 2009 issue of Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, breast cancer patients who received massage therapy reported a reduction in fatigue, creating a general feeling of wellness and improved sleep quality and their ability to think clearly. A study at the Touch Research Institute showed levels of “natural killer” cells and lymphocytes that help to battle cancerous tumors increased among breast cancer patients who received a massage three times a week.

“Massage therapy can often help alleviate pain and fatigue, which can make a huge difference in the overall feeling of wellness for those overcoming breast cancer,” said Judy Stahl, national president of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). “As a breast cancer survivor myself, I know the difference massage can make when going through such a difficult experience.”

Walk to Defeat Cancer

Many people walk to keep themselves fit, but this year, thousands across the country are making their steps count for others in the fight to end breast cancer—and enjoying massage as a reward.

The 2009 Breast Cancer 3-Day is a series of 15 walks nationwide where participants commit to walk 60 miles over the course of three days to raise money to help Susan G. Komen for the Cure accomplish its promise to end breast cancer forever. At the end of the long days of walking, participants are treated to complimentary massages courtesy of event presenting sponsor Energizer.

At the Energizer Live it Up! Lounge, walkers can enjoy a free 10-minute chair massage to help them relax and recharge for another day of walking. All massage services are donated by professional members of the AMTA. “By providing massage, we’re not only helping these walkers relax and relieve their tired and aching muscles, but also helping them recharge so they can maintain their spirit throughout their 60-mile journey,” said Stahl.

Tips to Share with Massage Clients

When getting a massage, consider this advice from the AMTA:

1. Communicate with your massage therapist. Give accurate health information and let the therapist know your expectations and reasons for the massage. Tell your massage therapist what you prefer in the way of lotions and oils, and whether you have any allergies.

2. Remember to breathe normally. Breathing helps facilitate relaxation.

3. Drink extra water after your massage.

4. Don’t get up too quickly, and do allow for some quiet time after your massage session. If you’re dizzy or light-headed after the massage, do not get off the table too fast.

What Else You Can Do

For those interested in supporting the cause, Energizer is currently offering a free, limited-edition Keep Going Journal, the first in a series, which benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The collectible 80-page journal features inspirational quotes, a calendar and a pink ribbon bookmark. It’s available by mailing in three proofs of purchase from select Energizer products. For every journal redeemed, Energizer will donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure up to $15,000, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $10,000.

Learn More

For more information, visit  www.the3day.org. For information about breast health or breast cancer, visit www.komen.org or call (877) GO-KOMEN.