When living with cancer, a massage or beauty treatment can offer a small window of relaxation and TLC when it is needed most. However, high insurance rates, coupled with a lack of training for therapists, mean that cancer patients are all too often turned away.
That is all about to change thanks to Sue Harmsworth MBE, who has taken up the cause to ensure cancer patients have access to safe and much-needed spa therapies.
What is SATCC?
Harmsworth is the founder of ESPA with over fifty years of holistic wellness and spa experience. She has now launched the Standard Authority for Touch in Cancer Care (SATCC). A recognised standard of training and accreditation platform, it provides access to spa treatments and therapists to those living with cancer.
‘When I started ESPA back in the 90s, all therapists would do at least 2 years training. They would learn all of the anatomy and physiology but over the years the courses got shorter and skillsets were affected,’ says Harmsworth. ‘There is so much misleading information. For example, massage moves the lymph and does damage. I have lots of testimonials from oncologists that say you absolutely can massage, you just need to understand the indications and types of cancers.’
After launching last month, SATCC has created a database of over 200 spas, salons and specially trained therapists who are all able to provide treatments suitable for those touched by cancer. The SATCC site also lets therapists book courses and register to get accredited.
The standard has been created by leading oncologists and experts such as Jennifer Young (Founder of Jennifer Young Beauty Despite Cancer), John Holman (MD of Hydrotherm Massage Systems) and Diane Hey (Chief Executive, Employer, Practitioner and Educator).
Spabreaks.com is a leading booking platform with more than 700 spa destinations in the UK and Ireland. You can now browse their Safe Hands Collection to find SATCC accredited spas. Founder Abi Selby says, ‘Access to appropriate treatments offered by trained therapists is going to be much easier and I’m delighted Spabreaks.com remains at the vanguard of the movement to open up spas to people with cancer.’
Think Tree Hub is also an accreditation website for wellbeing and healthcare therapists and features a list of friendly insurers. ‘The focus and intention of SATCC is to make massage for those touched by cancer accessible to all,’ says CEO Kush Kumar.
‘We wanted it to be all-inclusive. Now anybody going through cancer can enter their postcode on the SATCC website to find a spa or therapist near them,’ says Harmsworth. ‘There are no hurdles anymore.’