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Why it works … Recovery Treatment

Part of a movement that’s changing the way spas provide treatments for anyone affected by cancer, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel explain what their Recovery Treatment, available on their Recovery Retreats spa break, is all about … 

What exactly is the Recovery Treatment?

It is a personalised spa treatment to suit our guests with cancer or those in post-cancer recovery and is also recommended for anyone who wants to feel better after illness, bereavement, burnout or stress.  It starts with a short consultation with one of our specially trained spa therapists, in order to match the treatment not only to the guest’s physical requirements but also to align with their current mental and emotional needs. This is the most important part as it serves to empower the guest and ensure we deliver the best treatment for them as an individual.    The guest is then guided into a comfortable position for the treatment to begin.  There is no set format; in the allotted time of 50 minutes it is quite possible for a guest to have a mini-facial, scalp massage and relaxing foot massage, or massage combined with Reiki to balance them.  Any combination is possible and the treatment can include oils or be performed whilst the guest remains fully clothed. Our therapists have also been trained in a technique called HEARTS which stands for ‘Hands On, Empathy, Aromatherapy, Textures and Sound’. This is especially beneficial for guests feeling anxious and stressed and enables the therapist to perform a truly holistic treatment that responds to all of the senses.  We do not use essential oils in massage for guests with cancer as this can be too strong for those with weakened immune systems and may tax the liver and lymphatic system. Instead we use pure blends of nourishing oils and limit aromatherapy for external use such as putting a few drops on the pillow of the treatment couch or by enhancing the ambience of a room through a treatment candle.

Where does it come from?

As a progressive spa we were keen to openly welcome guests going through health challenges such as cancer. After a lot of research we managed to source training for this treatment through the NHS Christie Trust (Manchester).

What is it supposed to do?

It provides guest, particularly those affected by cancer, with the opportunity to experience and enjoy a treatment that is safe and purposely created for them in the relaxing environment of a spa.

Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment?

We burn organic Neom candles and play restorative music to help create a relaxing and tranquil environment in the treatment room. For our guests with cancer we do not use essential oils which may overburden the liver and lymphatic system and instead use ESPA Nourishing Oil which is a safe, non-invasive beautiful blend of calendula oil, sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba and vitamin E.  Ever mindful of varying pain thresholds and physical challenges our therapists have been trained to deliver very gentle and safe body treatments whilst the guest remains clothed. Equally, in the knowledge that some guests may feel conscious of scars, especially ladies who have undergone mastectomies, our therapists will immediately put them at ease and use extra draping to protect them from feeling vulnerable. Also we tend to position the guests in a way that is most comfortable for them so that they do not have to move once settled.

Is there anything you recommend clients to do pre or post-treatment to get the most out of it?

Health conditions permitting, we recommend our guests spend around 10-15 minutes in the spa thermal area to relax and warm up muscles prior to their treatment, it also means they won’t be rushing to their treatment.   Post-treatment we recommend drinking warm lemon in water or soothing ginger tea and spending some time in our Chill-Out Area to sleep and relax .

Is there anyone you particularly recommend the treatment for?

Anyone who is experiencing cancer or who is in recovery from cancer, as well as anyone feeling fragile from illness, stress, burnout or bereavement.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have this treatment and why?

No, since this is an adapted spa treatment for conditions normally contraindicated in spas, most if not all of our guests with health conditions can be treated in some way with a Recovery Treatment even it means just a gentle foot and hand massage. Obviously we always display a duty of care to all of our guests, implementing safeguards as well as adhering to routine health and safety guidelines and measures.

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