Hello, Just wondering if anyone else has had problems getting massages from well known franchise beauty therapists?
I was recently on my 1st holiday from completing a 6wk radiation course for breast cancer that was completed about 8wks earlier when the therapist at the 5star Spa I attended wouldn't massage me because she quote,"didn't want to spread it". This young lady also said that if they 'found out later that we did spread it that it would ruin them'.
I assume she referred to the possibility of litigation from me.
I assured her she could neither spread 'it' as she called cancer or 'catch it'!
I left feeling devastated as I am a big believer in the therapeutic benefits of massage and especially needed one to help me with the ongoing depression I have experienced since the tumour removal & radiation was completed. I contacted the GM of the resort & complained about her ignorance & lack of empathy but I believe my concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Does the beauty industry have mandatory education for their therapists about cancer etc or should I not tell them in future about my history of BC and just have a massage?
Hi there @PamelaP,
I am so sorry that you had such a horrid experience, massage is indeed beneficial to people at all stages of cancer. The tumour and treatment sites shouldn't be touched and I believe if you have lymphoedema, you should seek out someone who is qualified in lymphatic massage but otherwise you likely would have been fine.
I cannot speak for them, but nor am I aware of any mandatory education for therapists. There are however, some massage therapists who have taken specific specialist training in massage for cancer.
We have a publication about massage and cancer, that I think you will find useful. You can download it in PDF format here. If you would like a physical copy, please send me a private message and I will arrange to have one sent out to you.
Online Community Manager
How horrible for you! And what an ignorant person to believe that cancer is contagious and spread by massage!
I had a similar experience at a spa in Shoal Bay. I entered the spa, filled out the form and included the fact that I'd had breast conserving surgery months ago. I was then shown to a change room where I stripped off and put on a gown.
When I was taken to the massage room, took off the robe and lay on the table as instructed. Then the therapist checked the form and told me she wasn't permitted to massage me withing twelve months of surgery. I told her that my surgeon had cleared me to have a massage and that I had already had several massages at a treatment centre near my home. She left me in the treatment room to go and talk with her boss.
I sat there for a good fifteen minutes knowing I was being discussed. I put my robe back on. I felt humiliated, embarrassed and angry that I'd been made to strip down only to be told that nobody was prepared to touch me. Eventually the manager came back with the therapist and asked me if I had a letter from my doctor. I replied, "No, because I'm a competent adult that wouldn't deliberately do something to damage my health! If my doctor hadn't cleared me I wouldn't be asking for a massage." At this stage I was so upset I was crying. This holiday was the first my husband and I had taken since the end of treatment and I was very much looking forward to having a massage as part of feeling good about my post-surgical body. Instead I felt like I had some kind of contagious disease!
I returned to my room. When I felt a bit better I went back to the spa (it was within the hotel complex) and gave them two pieces of advice:
1. If there are categories of people that you won't massage it would be better to state this up front, rather than humilate people after they have stripped off.
2. Management and staff should read the excellent Cancer Council brochure on massage.
I have since found a specialist oncology masseuse. You can google to see if there's one near you. She's been a big part of my recovery. She even helped to improve the appearance of my mastectomy scars and my mobility through my chest muscles. Most importantly, she has helped me to feel well and confident in my post-cancer body.
She's also much cheaper than a fancy spa! 🙂
Best wishes with your recovery. I hope that sharing my story has helped you to know that you are not alone in experiencing ignorance and prejudice. Leave a review on trip advisor. I did.
I saw a specialist oncology masseuse throughout my treatment. She had no problem with touching my treatment site and her gentle touch on my wounds was both physically and emotionally healing. She wore gloves during chemotherapy and radiation and I believe she was a big part of my recovery.
She qualified with this organisation:
Their site has a post code search for local therapists.
Thanks for the link to the Cancer Council PDF on massage. I provided it to the spa where I was refused service.
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