Lifting the Taboo on Spa Therapies for Cancer Patients

Spa Therapies for People With Cancer

March 29, 2016 / No Comments
Share this post

Cancer is not an easy subject for many of us to discuss because the vast majority of people know someone who has been affected by it. The statistics are startling, with recent research reporting that by 2020, one in two people will get cancer at one point in their lives.


You might think that the spa would be the perfect retreat for someone recovering from cancer, yet for years they’ve been denied spa therapies. This is often because cancer is contraindicated for most therapies, so insurance companies don’t provide cover to the spas.


Jennifer Young, founder of the specialist Jennifer Young Training School, is hoping to change this. To date, hundreds of independent therapists, alongside forward thinking spas including Ragdale Hall & The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel (Park Lane, London), have received training for providing therapies to cancer patients. With the accreditation, it’s also enabled the spas to get the insurance they need.


Jennifer told us

“The questions from the people I meet remains the same – ‘why can’t I have a massage?’, ‘Why was I turned away from a spa day with my friends?’


There is nothing to suggest a downturn in the desire to be pampered, just the opposite in fact. Women tell me that they need spa services now more than ever.”



The approach seems to be working, with their research finding that 78% of reported conditions were improved after one treatment and 97% of clients reported improved well-being.


Sheron Boddy, Spa Director at Four Seasons Hotel London, highlights just what a difference it makes for cancer patients, commenting

“The therapists here feel privileged to offer their services to resolve the needs of our guests however vulnerable they may be.


Our dedicated team offer discretion in assisting guests affected by cancer at our tenth floor oasis in the heart of London.


Guests can escape the hustle and bustle of the city, be safe and looked after whilst enjoying personalised treatments.”




So how safe are traditional spa therapies?

Massage therapy for cancer patients is by far the most popular and is a natural treatment to promote relaxation and to reduce stress, anxiety and pain.


Cancer Research UK highlight one of the more common concerns, stating:

“Some people worry that having a massage when you have cancer may make the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body. No research has proved this to be true”.


This is also supported by Macmillan Cancer Support.


However, it’s important that the therapist is specially trained to provide massages to cancer patients, as gentler types are thought to be safer. These come in the form of Adapted Massages, which should be tailored for each person based on their condition.


One person who has already benefitted from massage therapy is a client of Radgdale Hall, who visited with another cancer patient.


“It was such a relief to feel not just welcomed but encouraged. It was also a relief not to say ‘I have cancer’ and then have to deal with how the person responds to that information depending on their own experiences.


We could talk about the cancer without shock, upset, sadness, embarrassment or fear from the staff – which is not uncommon. They had clearly had fantastic training and it really showed.”



The ancient therapy of Reflexology, in which pressure and massage is applied to areas on your feet and hands, is another one of the most popular therapies for people with cancer. Again, it’s vital you find a reflexologist who has specific training for treating cancer patients, as there are certain points on the feet that should be avoided.


In recent years we’ve seen a trend for spas to start catering for mums-to-be with specific pregnancy treatments. Our hope at SPA GUIDE UK is that this trend extends to tailored therapies for cancer patients, so that the people who deserve a massage the most can benefit.



Share this post