Booking a luxury spa day might seem to be the perfect antidote to gruelling cancer treatment.
Yet a great deal of so-called fear still exists – among customers and many therapists – about taking such a step.
Some beauty therapists are concerned about treating those who have recently had surgery or chemotherapy or who are on a cocktail of medication.
Many luxury spas in the UK are now responding to the needs of those who have been through or are still living with cancer, by offering tailored treatments (stock photo)
Meanwhile, some patients are unnerved by scare stories about whether some spa treatments can actually act as a trigger for the disease to return, not least, the often-repeated line that massage can push cancer cells round the body – for which experts say there is no evidence.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cause skin to become extremely sensitive, itchy and sore.
Nails and skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet can also crack and weep.
Yet Dany Bell, of Macmillan Cancer Support, says spa sessions could help people with cancer feel less stressed, cope with symptoms or the side effects of treatment, and feel more in control.
Thankfully, many luxury spas in the UK are now responding to the needs of those who have been through or are still living with cancer, by offering tailored treatments (though patients should always seek advice from their oncology team before having a treatment). Here, we round up some of the most luxurious on offer in the UK.
1. Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow
Why go there: Therapists at this five-star Glasgow hotel have completed a specialist spa course to improve their understanding of cancer and adapted treatment for patients.
Dedicated treatments include the Hand on Heart Back, Face and Scalp Treatment, a 55-minute session combining gentle forms of Chinese massage, and the 55-minute Soothe & Nurture Organic Facial. Both use 100 per cent organic hand-made products from the company Made For Life, which are gentle on the skin for cancer patients.
Cost: From £47, blythswoodsquare.com
2. The Spa At The Midland, Manchester
Why go there: The Spa has partnered with Wellness for Cancer, a non-profit organisation that provides therapy training. The Balance and Calm Spa Day package includes a consultation, tension-releasing back massage, and nourishing facial for skin that may have been affected by cancer treatment, plus a scalp and hand massage, use of the pool and steam bath and a light lunch or afternoon tea.
Cost: From £129pp, thespaatthemidland.co.uk
3. Ragdale Hall, Leicestershire
Why go there: For the Jennifer Young Indulgent Journey treatment. Jennifer is a microbiologist and founder of Defiant Beauty, specialist skincare for those affected by cancer. The 75-minute top-to-toe treatment includes a gentle full- body massage and a facial using the products.
Cost: £79, ragdalehall.co.uk
4. Seaham Hall, County Durham
Why go there: This five-star boutique hotel overlooking Durham’s heritage coast offers a selection of treatments for anyone having or recovering from cancer treatment (or supporting them). They include a Chinese massage which aims to invoke a meditative state of relaxation, revive the skin and ease tension.
Cost: From £45, seaham-hall.co.uk
5. The Spa At Bedford Lodge Hotel, Suffolk
Why go there: Beauty firm ESPA has developed treatments using super-gentle body oils specifically for cancer patients.
Cost: Facial £60; personalised massage £75 for 60 minutes or £99 for 90 minutes, bedfordlodgehotelspa.co.uk
6. Spa at The Corinthia Hotel, London
Why go there: For the Be Nurtured Day Spa package which can be tailored to any stage and side effect of cancer. It includes a 60-minute massage, 60-minute breathing and meditation ritual, lunch and access to sleep pods.
Cost: £280, corinthia.com
7. Hoar Cross Hall, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire
Why go there: For the Jennifer Young Spa Day. Includes a 55-minute facial or massage treatment, three-course lunch and use of spa facilities.
Cost: £119, hoarcross.co.uk
8. The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Cheshire
Why go there: One of Spabreaks.com’s Recovery Retreats aimed at cancer patients. The Totally You Spa Day uses products by Aromatherapy Associates specially designed for sensitive skin. Includes lunch or afternoon tea.
Cost: From £175pp, spabreaks.com/recoveryretreats
9. Weavers’ House Spa at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel, Suffolk
Why go there: Offers a range of ‘Touch Therapy’ treatments using Jennifer Young products. Therapists have been personally trained by Young to perform adapted ‘lighter touch’ treatment techniques including facials, massages, manicures or pedicures.
Cost: From £36, theswanatlavenham.co.uk
10. Rudding Park, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Why go there: Provides Jennifer Young treatments such as massage, manicure, pedicure.
Cost: From £50, ruddingpark.co.uk