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Cancer in the Spa
By: Morag Currin
Posted: May 26, 2010, from the June 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Editor’s note: Before offering new or specialized services, spa professionals must undergo the proper training. Also, make sure clients living with cancer consult with their physicians before receiving any spa services.
With cancer statistics on the rise, there is a very good chance that a person living with cancer—or a cancer survivor, caregiver or family member—will seek out solace in a spa. Because of this, spa professionals should consider becoming educated about how to work with patients living with, or dealing with, cancer.
Although the focus of oncology esthetics is primarily on people living with cancer, it is important to understand that at times, these clients may have additional complications beyond the disease itself. They also may experience health issues or disabilities, including the effects that can occur by ingesting a cocktail of medications.
Personalizing spa treatments during each appointment is the key to a successful outcome. For clients, knowing that their chosen esthetician is qualified and trained to deal with their disease reassures them that they will be in the best hands. In some ways, clients with cancer are a forgotten population and offering services for them could result in a point of difference for your spa. Also, caregivers, family members and friends may be potential spa-goers, and many need emotional support in their lives, as well. Attracting new clients by offering oncology-based services can assure them that safe treatments can be enjoyed for people living with cancer. See Specialized Cancer Services for more information about what types of treatments can and can’t be offered to this unique clientele.
Can spa treatments spread cancer?
Cancer spreads while patients are living their lives, walking and doing household chores. There is no evidence to suggest that touch or gentle massage causes metastasis, but there is proof that touch or gentle massage is beneficial on a physical, emotional and spiritual level for people living with cancer.1, 2, 3 Research and anecdotal evidence has shown gentle massage to positively improve side effects such as nausea, insomnia, pain and anxiety. And for those leading stressful lives, being stress-free even for an hour is great for the psyche. Understanding the circulatory and lymphatic system is also necessary for spa professionals working with clients who have cancer. The removal or radiation of lymph nodes creates a serious concern, so the treatment must be personalized for each client in order to avoid serious repercussions that could result in lymphedema, which is the blockage of the lymph nodes.