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Jun 10, 2022

A weightlifting client who has never had professional massage wants help with back and leg pain. Simple enough, right? But in their first interview they reveal a 4-year-old history of thyroid cancer, thyroidectomy, and lymph node removal.

What repercussions does this have for their massage? Can we move forward? Do we need to look for signs of lymphedema? Does lymphedema even happen with lymph flow in the neck?

Stay tuned for a look at thyroid cancer, and some excellent information-gathering practice guidelines.




Books of Discovery:  


Anatomy Trains:  



Host Bio:        


Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, now in its seventh edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide. Werner is also a long-time Massage & Bodywork columnist, most notably of the Pathology Perspectives column. Werner is also ABMP’s partner on Pocket Pathology, a web-based app and quick reference program that puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips. Werner’s books are available at And more information about her is available at   


Recent Articles by Ruth:       


“Unpacking the Long Haul,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, January/February 2022, page 35,


“Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Massage Therapy,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, September/October 2021, page 33,


“Pharmacology Basics for Massage Therapists,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, July/August 2021, page 32,    




Pocket Pathology:


‘Lymphedema’ (no date) American Head & Neck Society. Available at: (Accessed: 18 May 2022).


Lymphedema After Head and Neck Cancer | OncoLink (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 18 May 2022).


Stephen, C. and Munnoch, D.A. (2016) ‘Lymphoedema of the upper limb: a rare complication of thyroid surgery?’, BMJ Case Reports, 2016, p. bcr2016214376. doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-214376.


About Anatomy Trains:


Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.