More Hotels and Spas are Training Staff in Massage for Cancer Patients

The New York Times (NYT) reports that several hundred spas and hotels around the world are increasingly catering their spa treatments to clients with cancer. According to the article, “the biggest change is in hotel spas where therapists are getting training in the needs and restrictions of cancer-afflicted guests when it comes to massages, facials, and manicures.”

Many clients with cancer have historically encountered challenges when receiving spa treatments like massages and facials. According to Dr. Susan Prockop, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, cancer patients need to be cautious with spa treatments because of issues like low blood circulation or low red or white cell count. These conditions can result in soft-tissue damage during a massage. Prockop also says some cancer therapies are sensitive to ingredients that may be in massage oil or facial products, making rashes and skin irritation more likely.

Wellness for Cancer, a nonprofit organization led by Julie Bach, educates spas on how to provide wellness services to clients with cancer, including training spa therapists in how to modify and perform services.

The NYT writes, “Wellness for Cancer has trained staff at more than 200 hotel spas since it introduced the training in 2012, according to Ms. Bach. The list includes small boutique properties such as Farmhouse Inn & Spa in Sonoma, California, and large ones that are part of well-known brands like the Four Seasons, at locations in Hong Kong and Surfside, Florida.”

Bach developed her program in conjunction with oncologists, integrative medicine doctors, and other wellness specialists.

For more information, including additional examples of the ways hotels and spas are striving to make wellness treatments accessible to all, read the full article at the New York Times website.

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