This year, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel joined Spabreaks.com’s collection of Recovery Retreats venues, offering spa days and breaks tailored to anyone being treated for or recovering from cancer. Here, they explain what it takes and why it was an important step for them …
What made you want to become a Recovery Retreats destination?
We have always prided ourselves on being a progressive spa and were already looking for ways to openly embrace guests either with a history of cancer or those going through conventional treatment. We were alarmed that many spas refuse to perform spa treatments on those guests with cancer even if they have been clear for five years. This seemed very wrong to us especially as caring husbands and friends often treat a loved one to a spa day or overnight stay following the completion of their treatment. They simply want human touch and to be treated as a normal spa goer. When Spabreaks.com gave us the opportunity to become involved we jumped at the chance!
What treatments do you offer clients on Recovery Retreats?
At Lifehouse we offer specially adapted spa treatments known as Recovery Break treatments. Aimed at how the client is feeling at the time, our specially trained spa therapists use their skill and experience to adapt treatments to the guests’ needs. This may be a combination of a facial, scalp massage, reflexology, dry clothed Reiki/Shiatsu and stress reducing treatments such as HEARTS which stands for ‘Hands On, Empathy, Aromatherapy, Textures and Sound’. Our therapists have been specially trained in this technique. Treatments may involve the guest lying down, normally on their backs, or sitting more upright depending upon their level of comfort. We also offer physiotherapy and have an in-house meditation expert who can help enormously with stress, worry and anxiety. In terms of essential oils we tend to use them externally rather than topically on the skin. This may involve putting a few drops on the pillow of the treatment couch or by enhancing the ambience of a room through a treatment candle.
What research lies behind the treatments to ensure they are safe for cancer patients?
Our spa therapists were trained by Dr Peter Mackereth and Ann Carter from the NHS Christie Trust (Manchester) who have done extensive research on treating cancer patients holistically.
What happens during the consultation process with therapists?
I talk to the guest on the phone initially about their type of cancer, treatment process, and their individual experience and if they have had any adverse reactions. I will also establish if their digestive system has been affected so that I can ensure everything from the treatments, positioning on the spa couch to the type of food they have is arranged prior to their visit. This way they can arrive in the full confidence that everything has been suitably organised to ensure their utmost relaxation and comfort.
Are you ever wary of performing any particular treatments on the patients?
Given that our therapists have the skills and experience in how to adapt a spa treatment we are prepared for most eventualities. We wanted to offer spa treatments to our guests experiencing cancer and this is why we invested in proper training.
Is there a particularly popular treatment?
There is no one particular treatment that stands out because each treatment is specifically tailored to the individual needs of the guest, but certainly gentle foot massage and scalp massage feature quite a lot.
Can you buy any of the products that you use?
We use ESPA for their Nourishing Oil (Calendula oil, sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba and vitamin E) and NEOM for their treatment candles. Both of these products are available in certain stores or online, and some of which we sell in our on-site boutique.
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