ONCOLOGY MASSAGE: A Look Inside A Business Dedicated to Support & Care

Paradise Massage, LLC, is spreading the word and changing the conversation around cancer treatment through massage

The c-word. For as many people as cancer impacts, it’s not a topic easily brought up, though one local business is aiming to reframe the conversation: Paradise Massage.

“One in eight people are diagnosed with cancer sometime in their life. That’s a pretty high number,” Paradise Massage, LLC owner, Laura Ellingboe, said. “(Oncology massage) is something that I want everyone to know about.”

In fact, the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced that 2024 is projected to be the first year ever that new cancer cases passes the two-million mark. That’s almost 5,500 cancer diagnoses per day. Statistics like those are just part of what makes the word “cancer” so dreaded, yet with each passing year, people learn more about treatment, too.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is, oncology massage is for anyone who has ever had cancer. So, say there’s a survivor of 20 years and they want to come in for a regular massage. Well, I can do a regular massage, of course, but for people who have or have had cancer, there are specific techniques for them and the area(s) that may have been affected, especially if lymph nodes have been removed,” Laura explained.

After receiving her Massage Therapy degree from Globe University in 2011, Laura went on to complete additional coursework and further her education, specifically in oncology massage,  and manual lymphatic drainage from Northwestern Health Sciences in Bloomington, Minnesota, and others. On top of her academic background, she is the only preferred practitioner of the Society for Oncology Massage within a 50-mile radius of Eau Claire and is a Regional Champion for Wisconsin. Laura is the only person in the state to receive the identification of Regional Champion, making her the go-to oncology-trained massage therapist in Wisconsin.

The “why” behind her years of education, advocacy efforts, and nearly 10 years of business with Paradise Massage, LLC is about as personal as it can get. In 1990, Laura lost her mother to lung cancer. In 2006, she lost her sister to colon cancer. They were both 51 years old. Breast, ovarian, and colon cancer have affected other members of her family, and after her own testing, Laura underwent a total hysterectomy and a double mastectomy.

“Losing my mom and my sister to cancer, I felt like I needed to help people,” she said.

Laura went on to explain that many doctors and nurses, specifically in cancer centers, are trained to support their patients during their treatment and treat the cancer, not the person. After-care, however, is not something they are typically specially trained or versed in.

“Many people often are not told during their treatment (about oncology massage),” she explained. “After cancer, there are things you need to be aware of for the rest of your life. With massage, that’s where I come in: I safely massage them, and almost more than that, there is an empathy and understanding that I bring.”

Technique-wise, Laura explained how oncology massage education includes the difference between pressure and massage techniques for those who have had or have cancer, the difference in the direction of stroke used, and lymphatic drainage, among others.

“People with cancer and survivors need to know this is an option for them and treatment like this can help some of their symptoms,” Laura said. “You can experience better sleep, relieve anxiety, and it can make you and your body feel like you’re just a normal person, a whole person. People need to know that they are not their cancer.

What may be a non-topic for some people is something Laura has, literally, witnessed and experienced first-hand. But it’s not who she is, and it’s not who her clients are. As she continues to advocate for oncology massage and cancer awareness through community cancer walks, the local Empower Me event sponsored by Marshfield Clinic, Polka Dot Powerhouse, and even founding events like the Women’s Cancer Retreat in collaboration with local cancer doula Stephanie Miller, Laura only plans to surge further ahead.

Expansion plans are ramping up for Laura and Paradise Massage, LLC, with Laura’s focus steadily aimed on supporting even more people in the area.


Phone: (715) 514-2212

Address: 4638 Golf Rd., Eau Claire

Online: paradisemassageec.com

Facebook: Paradise Massage     

Instagram: @ecparadisemassage