Tuesday 1 May 2018

Can I still have a massage if I've had cancer?

There seems to be a lot of confusion over whether or not you are allowed to have massages if you have cancer, are going through chemo or have had cancer and had lymph node removal. Someone had told me that massages can spread cancer around the body (although there is no evidence medical evidence to suggest this), another told me I couldn't have any massage at all anywhere on my body in case of lymphadema.

In fact so many people had told me I wasn't allowed a massage following my surgery so when I was approached to review a fantastic Balance and Calm Signature Treatment in partnership with Wellness for Cancer™ at The Midland Hotel Spa in Manchester, I jumped at the chance.

Prior to the spa day and treatment one of the therapists contacted me by phone for an initial consultation to go through all of my health concerns and ensure the treatment was tailored specifically to my needs. Knowing that I had spoken to my therapist before the session really put me at ease. The spa was fully aware of exactly where I was up to in terms of my illness so I couldn't wait to get there.

Treating my mother-in-law to a trip with me to the Spa we headed to The Midland Hotel. It's worth noting that you entrance The Spa at the side of the building.The first thing that hit me when we arrived was the amazing smell of aromatic oils. We headed down the beautiful winding staircase and were greeted by the reception team and shown around. The Spa has a gym, relaxation room, jacuzzi, pool, sauna, salt-infusion aromatherapy steam bath and an amazing lifestyle shower.

After being allocated a locker containing a robe, slippers and towel, we changed and headed to the pool area to relax before our treatments.

I spent most of my time in the pool and the jacuzzi however I was feeling a bit sniffly so thought I'd try the salt-infused aromatherapy steam room. It was fantastic for clearing it up. It's hot and dry but felt really good. To cool down, despite saying I wasn't going to get my hair wet I decided to head to the lifestyle shower. This is a huge shower that stimulates your circulatory system. It feels like being caught in a tropical storm - very invigorating!

At 1 o'clock we headed back to the reception area. I was greeted by Hayley my lovely therapist and we headed to the treatment room. The place is huge! The room was lovely and warm and I was told to take a seat so we could run through some further health questions. I explained that I'd had a unilateral mastectomy and sentinal lymphnode removal. Hayley explained that because of the few lymphnodes I'd had taken away she would adjust the treatment and avoid massaging in that direction. She explained each part of the Balance and Calm Treatment to me so I knew what to expect.

I was left in the treatment room to get changed and hop on to the heated massage table. Unfortunately I was really uncomfortable as I lay face down because of my expander implant but as soon as Hayley returned I let her know and she arranged some towels underneath my shoulders to take the pressure off and the first part of the treatment could begin.

To start the Balance & Calm Treatment I was given an amazing full body massage (back, arm & hand and legs & feet) using ESPA Nourishing Body Oil. I can not tell you how relaxing this was. The best massage I've ever had and I certainly needed it. All of the tightness is my muscles seemed to disappear and it seemed to go on forever, I almost drifted off I was so relaxed. Once the massage was complete I needed to move on to my back. Hayley held up the towel to protect my modestly so I could lie down ready for the next phase of the treatment, the facial.

I have to admit, I've never had a facial at a spa before - I usually spend my money on massages. I was surprised by how relaxing the facial was as I am usually quite funny about people touching my face! After completing the facial cleanse and massage with ESPA Tri Active Night Booster, an ESPA Overnight Hydration Therapy Mask was left on my face while my therapist moved on to a head massage.

Wow! I cannot tell you how amazing the head massage was. Hayley used ESPA Pink Hair & Scalp Mask and advised me to leave this on my hair for as long as possible. Luckily I had a hair bobble with me so I tied my hair up for the journey home.

The Balance & Calm session was just perfect. Everything I needed to relax after what has been the most horrendous 6 months of my life. I was transported away from my every day worries and felt so calm and at ease. I can highly recommend the treatment, I will certainly be going back again. My skin was just glowing and my hair had a new lease of life.

I know when I had mentioned in some of my online support groups that I was having this treatment some of you were asking questions so I made sure to ask them on your behalf...

Can I still attend the spa day if I'm receiving active treatment - chemotherapy or radiotherapy?

Yes, it is ideal to come just before or close attending a treatment as this is generally when you may feel ‘well’ or be feeling less affected by the treatment or side effects.

What if I've had full lymphnode removal?

It is important for us to understand if Lymph nodes have been removed or radiated so we can adapt the treatment to suit. In some cases it may be better to you touch therapy such as Reiki rather than a traditional massage however every single Balance & Calm treatment is bespoke and tailored to each individual.

Can I use the sauna/steam rooms/jacuzzi if I've got or had cancer ?

It is not recommended to use the thermal facilities as the heat exposure may make you feel unwell but it is entirely at your discretion if you feel well enough.

Is there anything in the spa that should be avoided at the spa for certain patients?
We would not recommend to have a rasul experience and certainly no nail treatments that include any cuticle work to minimise the risk of infection.

If you have any other questions then be sure to ask in the comments below and I can get an answer for you.

After the treatments we headed to the relaxation room. It's divided in to 4 seperate areas, all very calming and dimly lit to help you just escape your everyday.

Feeling really relaxed from our treatments we headed to the 'Big Sleep' area first. There are three small beds tucked away in the corner. Such a great little area to close your eyes and continue to leave your stresses behind.

In the relaxation area there are a number of complimentary teas for you to drink. We took some tea and then I headed in to one of the 'Hanging Pods' to chill a bit more. There are 4 pods enclosed behind a voile curtain.

There is also two 'Time Out' areas where you can kick back and relax in that the spa can actually close off for groups if you book ahead and a 'Lounge Seating' space where you can relax in a sound cancelling egg shaped chairs.

I absolutely loved this room, the only non relaxing part was trying to get out of the hanging pod. Let's just say I had the grace of a baby elephant!

By 3pm we were getting really peckish so we headed to the dining area for our afternoon tea.

We were served THE most delicious treats. Sandwiches with delicious fillings, cakes to die for - a manadrin cake slice, jaffa cake chocolates and pistachio and pear crumble cake.

We were so full that we had to take the scones, jam and clotted cream home with us to eat later on.

It was truly scrumptious and the perfect end to the day.

We could have headed back to the spa for more time in pool and sauna rooms or the relaxation area but we decided to head home.

I cannot recommend the Midland Hotel Spa's 'Wellness For Cancer' spa day highly enough. I feel amazing. I wish that everyone going through this horrible breast cancer journey could experience this. I can't tell you the difference it has made to me. For the first time in weeks I feel like my anxiety has taken a step back and I've been able to take a step away from the everyday pains and worries that this horrible disease brings.

If you are interested in booking for yourself or a friend then there are a couple of options, you can either book the treatment on it's own or book a full spa day.

Balance & Calm Signature Treatment
The Balance and Calm experience combines a personalised consultation, mindful touch and breathing, tension releasing back massage, nourishing facial including skin analysis with a
scalp and hand massage to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, enveloping you in calm.
and a soothing facial.

85 minutes for £105

Wellness For Cancer Spa Day

* An 85 minute signature Balance & Calm treatment (as above)
* Either a light lunch or afternoon tea in the spa café
* Full use of the relaxation room, spa facilities and gym all day

Monday-Thursday £135pp
Friday-Sunday £155pp

Book online now

Disclosure: I attended the spa day free of charge in return for an honest review.

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