The ultra-luxe hospitality brand is doing its part to combat misconceptions that massage is not suitable for cancer patients and survivors.
Ahead of this year’s World Cancer Day (February 4), Four Seasons has launched a pioneering Cancer Care Massage at its two spas on Indonesia’s Island of the Gods: the recently opened Healing Village Spa in Four Seasons Resort Jimbaran Bay and Sacred River Spa at Four Seasons Resort Sayan outside Ubud. A dozen therapists from both spas recently completed their intensive two-week training process, which was carried out under specialist Christine Clinton and followed guidelines set out by the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care — a national benchmark for spas, salons, and therapists in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The training involved massage trials that saw each therapist paired with a woman from the support group “Bali Pink Fighters,” an initiative of the Bali Pink Ribbon Foundation that brings together individuals living with breast cancer.
Luisa Anderson, a former oncology nurse and Four Seasons’ Regional Spa Director for Bali, Langkawi, and the Maldives, says the participants were able to share their personal cancer stories with the therapists, and both sides were left touched by the experience. She adds that there is a broad misconception that massage can spread cancer, with the effect that many spas simply do not offer massage to cancer survivors, guests in active treatment, or those with a history of the disease.
“In fact, massage can have a huge impact on treating the side effects of cancer treatment and improving quality of life – as long as there are appropriate training and protocols in place,” Anderson explains. “Massage has been clinically proven to improve immune function, reduce pain, and enhance sleep. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has derailed treatment plans for millions of cancer sufferers globally, and further impacted their quality of life.”
Available as an hourlong or 90-minute session, the brand-new Cancer Care Massage uses bespoke oils to soothe dry or radiation-irritated skin, while releasing scar tissue and providing lymph support. It is recommended to soothe the nervous system and give spa-goers an added sense of calm regardless of where they are on their cancer journey. The first session is preceded by an in-depth consultation with the guest to find out which type of cancer they have, the nature of their treatment, and side effects. The massage is then customized so the setup of the bed and body position are both appropriate for the patron, and therapists can apply the right pressure and techniques.
The launch of the Cancer Care Massage marks the first step in the rollout of several comprehensive self-care programs at Four Seasons Resorts Bali. Led by resident wellness experts, the retreats are suitable for guests at various stages in their fight with cancer, and will incorporate various kinds of healing including sleep therapy, chromatherapy, sound healing, good nutrition, touch therapy, and yoga and meditation.
More information here.