This company is helping cancer patients get access to safe spa treatments

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.

Sue Harmsworth MBE

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).

South Lodge

SATCC has also joined forces with accredited UK spa partners and Think Tree Hub. 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 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.

Ockenden Manor

‘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.'

Sarah Barnes

Sarah Barnes is Junior Beauty Writer and Production Assistant at Marie Claire UK.

After attending a military school growing up (we are talking camo print, crawling through the mud) Sarah craved a creative outlook with fashion and beauty always being a huge draw. With a degree in Fashion Journalism from The University For The Creative Arts, Sarah was introduced into the world of beauty, health and print after publishing her own university magazine, which was an investigative project into the world of Paleo and Primal Wellbeing. Her love for production came after moving to Vancouver Canada, working on the sets for Toyota commercials as a production assistant.

Four years later, she is now Marie Claire UK’s Junior Beauty Writer and Production Assistant. Combining both her love for writing and production, having worked her way up from intern. With each day being different Sarah can be found writing beauty features, reporting backstage at Fashion Week on the latest beauty trends and working on Marie Claire’s various beauty awards and video content. Always on her face beauty wise; Urban Decays 24/7 Eyeliner in Roach, Elemis Daily Defence Shield SPF 30 and Estee Lauders Radiant Double Wear Concealer.

Sarah’s job also allows her to travel the world for Marie Claire’s beauty shoots, working on the shoot production and assisting with booking the best models and photographers. Highlights include shooting at sunset in the Lanzarote desert, from a speedboat in Mauritius and along the wild beaches of Sri Lanka- maybe that army training was useful after all?