I’ve written before about being turned away in tears from a local spa during chemotherapy in 2015. All I wanted was a massage during my good week before I went back for round 2. Little did I know that most spas / salons refuse to treat anyone with cancer without a letter from their doctor.

I couldn’t believe it! I managed to get a letter from my oncologist saying it was OK with her, and three weeks later I went back, ready to be pampered. Except I was turned away in tears again – I’d booked for a facial and my letter only said that massage was allowed. Yet another letter and I finally got a treatment, but it wasn’t the luxury I’d been looking forward to.

Once I’d had my mastectomy, I booked in for a massage again – and guess what? I was sent away in tears. Because I’d had another cancer treatment – I needed another letter! I had an argument with them – trying to understand why they wouldn’t treat me when Maggies Centres offer free complementary treatments to anyone with cancer.

There are two main reasons:
1) The belief that it might make the cancer come back
2) Out-dated insurance policies

Luckily times have changed. More and more day spas and high street salons are starting to treat cancer patients without needing a letter (although you should always check before booking). The choice of treatments may be limited, and they may insist on not massaging certain areas, but it’s better than nothing.

Thankfully, someone had decided that cancer patients deserve better. Nuffield Health have designed a range of five treatments (Relax and Restore) using organic products for anyone with cancer, at any stage of your treatment, even metastatic cancer. What’s more, these treatments are offered at cost price for cancer patients, so the salons don’t make a profit, unlike other spas.

Relax and Restore
Nuffield Health approached me and asked if I would like to try one of the massages. Now, normally, I turn down freebies and recommend they give them to someone else – I feel guilty about accepting anything as I know there are others far more deserving than me. However, this time, I thought “Sod it – why not?” as my cancer had just come back, and I was feeling pretty low. I had the 55 minutes ‘Hand on Heart’ treatment and I can honestly say that it was one of the best treatments I have EVER had. EVER. And I’m not just saying that because it was free – I’ve booked to pay for another one.

First I had to fill in a very detailed 3-page questionnaire about my cancer diagnosis and treatment, and then cancer was never mentioned again. The massage itself is very gentle, using light Touch Therapy techniques, and I’ll be honest – I was sceptical. I like a firm, almost painful massage. But this – just Wow! After treating your feet, you lie on your back for the massage, and then roll over for a head and scalp massage and facial. I woke up when the lip balm was being put on right at the very end and my first thought was – “I’m too dopey to drive home”. I have NEVER been that relaxed before, and the feeling lasted for a good few days afterwards.

I’d recommend the treatments to anyone (full list here) – not just people with cancer, but it’s great that cancer patients can get them at a cheaper rate. You can also buy gift vouchers for your loved ones from the Nuffield health website. And with Christmas coming up that would make a great last-minute present.