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Healing Spas Now Focus on Cancer

If your stress level is 4 or above, it’s time for massage

Illustration Credit: Open to Possibilities by Donna Grethen

Decades ago in downtown Manhattan, greeted by a whir of chimes, a lounge spun of silk, abuzz with ginger tea, I floated into my first spa massage. I had arrived feeling well and left feeling even better. But had I been a seriously stressed cancer patient, I might have been seen as a liability and turned away—forced to settle for prayer beads and a candle from the gift shop. Fortunately, change is in the scented air. Nonprofit groups such as Spa4ThePink and Wellness for Cancer are providing standardized cancer-focused trainings for spas and wellness practitioners.As a psychotherapist and former copywriter, I admire Spa4ThePink’s tagline: Changing the healing journey for those “who happen to have cancer.” The upshot being: let’s not make cancer the defining identity and journey of a client—this is simply where the client is right now, and we’ll adjust to create the most comfortable spa journey. With mandatory Patient Distress Screenings going into effect at all major cancer centers in 2015 (a stress level rating of 4 out of 10 or higher is considered cause for action), health professionals will be looking …

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