Cancer patients’ massage therapy

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A leading complementary therapist in Crowborough will hold one of the UK’s first training courses following health chiefs’ U-turn over access to specialised treatments for cancer patients.

Ben Barnett, owner of Vitality Health and Wellbeing, will run an Amethyst Trust massage training course in January teaching therapists a specialist form of massage for clients with cancers.

This is one of the first of its kind in the UK as it allows participating therapists to obtain insurance for treating cancer patients, which had not been possible before. They had to turn away potential clients with cancer at a time when they most needed help.

Therapists could not get cover due to misconceptions that massage helped spread cancer cells around a patient’s body. However, one of the UK’s foremost oncology specialists, Prof Karol Sikora, PhD FRCR FRCP has stated there is no evidence to support this assumption.

National charity The Amethyst Trust, which has been involved with clients with cancer, has focused on developing a specialist course to train therapists in the massage techniques needed to treat cancer clients.

This new course has been endorsed by the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre enabling the Trust to persuade a leading insurance company to provide insurance for therapists who have attended this training.

One of the specialist techniques uses the Hydrotherm 3D Massage Therapy which has a bed incorporating cushions filled with water heated to 37 degrees. The warm water in the cushions increases blood flow to the back muscles, allows fluids within the body to flow more freely and greatly reduces discomfort in sensitive areas.

Clients lie on their back during the massage – an important difference compared with normal massage as 90% of cancer surgery enters the front of the body making it impossible for them to lie on their front.

Training teaches therapists how to alter the massage allowing for alterations in the client’s body caused by their treatment (e.g. removal of lymph glands, chemotherapy devices, and colostomy bags) and how to handle the client on an emotional level.

The training course will take place on January 10.

Therapist Ben Barnett has 22 years of experience in the massage world and worked closely with health specialists to help develop the courses.

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