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Safe Hands for Cancer and what spa guests get from it

safe hands for cancer

Wellness is often presented as a destination, but in reality it changes over time and of course, it’s personal.  Safe Hands is the latest step from in helping spa guests to make sure those individual needs are cared for when going to a spa. It’s about making sure you’re safe, informed and getting the maximum benefit from your spa experience - tailored to your needs. It starts with Safe Hands for Cancer.

What is Safe Hands for Cancer?

Safe Hands for Cancer identifies spa destinations where therapists have had the right level of training to adapt treatments for anyone with or recovering from cancer, for their safety as well as making sure they receive maximum benefit from their treatment. It ensures that whichever experience you choose, you will always be in safe hands.

It has been launched in collaboration with the SATCC (Standards Authority for Training and Cancer Care). The SATCC is the only dedicated body of industry experts providing dedicated training for spa therapists to ensure they can treat guests at all stages of their cancer journey.

There are three levels of therapist training:

  • Level 1: Allows therapists to treat someone who has had cancer within the last three years.
  • Level 2: Allows therapists to treat someone who is currently in remission.
  • Level 3: Allows therapists to treat someone with active cancer who may have a picc line for example.

Why we need specialist therapist training for cancer patients?

Like anyone, every person who has cancer has different needs. That might depend on the type of cancer they have, what stage of treatment they’re at, or what treatment they’re having. Broadly speaking, the primary concerns when it comes to spa facilities and treatments are the risk of infection for anyone undergoing radiation, the potential for bruising if you are having chemotherapy, increased sensitivity to pain, and the possibility that certain products and essential oils are too potent for use during some cancer treatments.  

Born of the fear of causing harm, historically therapists have been taught not to provide spa treatments to anyone with cancer. This approach has been compounded because insurance companies wouldn’t cover therapists treating clients with cancer, and there was no coordinated and singularly recognised standard of care and training. However, recognising the need for change, a number of industry innovators have worked to create therapist training and protocols to provide and adapt spa treatments in a way that is now recognised by insurers. 

So now those options are available, the goal has been getting as many therapists as possible trained the correct standards, as well as empowering consumers with the information to know they are booking the right spa experiences and the right standards of care for them.

How we arrived at Safe Hands for Cancer

Our own journey towards making changes to the way the spa industry supports anyone with cancer, came to a head one day in 2012, when we got a phone call from a customer in tears.  

Her daughter had bought her a spa day, but when she arrived at her destination and filled in her consultation form, she ticked ‘yes’ in the little box asking if she had cancer.  The therapist had unceremoniously sent her away, telling her they couldn’t treat her.  

Horrified, we decided enough was enough, and so we worked with a number of our most trusted spa destinations to set up Recovery Retreats. These were specialised packages for spa days and breaks for anyone with or recovering from cancer. They were the precursor to Safe Hands, and they were an industry game changer. However, they still presented a restricted spa experience for spa goers living with cancer, and so our work has continued alongside that of other industry leaders.

What do spa guests get from Safe Hands for Cancer?

The result of our actions, and those of others, is that the spa industry has changed and continues to do so. The availability of improved training for spa therapists means they can feel confident adapting treatments for anyone with cancer.  We are moving towards a space where specialised treatments and packages are not necessary for people with cancer because therapists are able to adapt most treatments or make recommendations, as they would in other circumstances. That’s what we call, Safe Hands.

The purpose of Safe Hands is to allow anyone living with, being treated for, or recovering from cancer to enjoy a spa break like anyone else. In practical terms, what that means is:

  • The ability to enjoy a spa experience that you know is safe Have a spa experience that helps to relieve skincare or wellbeing issues caused by cancer treatments (such as dry skin, cracked nails or issues such as sleeplessness)
  • A sense of security that your therapies will be adapted to any treatments you’re having (surgery scars, picc lines)
  • The knowledge that all the ‘cancer related’ information and details have been taken care of in advance so that you can concentrate on time to yourself and/or with a loved one
  • In short, Safe Hands is about exactly that - making sure you know you’re safe and allowing you to get the most out of your spa experience. It’s about providing the nurturing of wellbeing and enjoyment, which is really what a spa is all about.

In short, Safe Hands is about exactly that - making sure you know you’re safe and allowing you to get the most out of your spa experience. It’s about providing the nurturing of wellbeing and enjoyment, which is really what a spa is all about.


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