Spa launches therapy for cancer patients

Breast Cancer sufferer Sarah Harrison enjoys a spa treatment at the Ramside Hotel Spa, with Macmillan nurse Caroline Tweedie.

Breast Cancer sufferer Sarah Harrison enjoys a spa treatment at the Ramside Hotel Spa, with Macmillan nurse Caroline Tweedie.

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Cancer experts have helped launch the country’s first spa with specially trained staff.

Macmillan Nurses and cancer patients have given their backing to The Spa at Ramside, where therapists have undergone 60 hours of intensive training and exams to qualify them to carry out their therapy treatment on people who are undergoing or recovering from cancer.

Breast Cancer sufferer Sarah Harrison enjoys a spa treatment at the Ramside Hotel Spa, with therapist Rachel Ferguson.

Breast Cancer sufferer Sarah Harrison enjoys a spa treatment at the Ramside Hotel Spa, with therapist Rachel Ferguson.

The spa, based in the grounds of Ramside Hall in Durham, is the first in the country to have signed up to Wellness for Cancer.

An American-based organisation, it is the first worldwide to establish accredited training for the spa industry on working with anyone affected by cancer, from which treatments are suitable for cancer patients through to how reception staff should respond.

Sarah Harrison, 37, from Hetton, has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer since being diagnosed last June and believes having a spa day should be about escaping from your condition for a short while, not making you feel worse.

Mum to Kate, six, Sarah, has always enjoyed the occasional spa treat, but didn’t realise even that would be effected when she became ill.

Sarah, who works for UK Asset Resolution at Doxford Park, said: “I went to a spa and all the form filling in about cancer was like an extension of hospital and then the therapist said ‘well let’s hope this doesn’t spread the cancer’ which was shocking. It was just a lack of training and knowledge.

“Because the staff at The Spa at Ramside have been specially trained, you are just treated like every other person who comes in.

“People can have the treatment they want and be able to relax, which aids their recovery.”

Macmillan nurse, Caroline Tweedie, said: “Having something like this in the country is great and for it to be in the North East is fantastic.

“We would only promote something that is safe and having spoken to the therapists they really know what they are doing.”

Caroline said helping cancer sufferers and their families deal with the emotional and psychological issues around cancer is hugely important and Macmillan can help people access grants to fund activities such as spa days.

The Wellness for Cancer training involved all staff learning about the disease and the importance of bringing “mindfulness” elements – a technique which helps people deal with anxiety by living in the moment – into play.

Laura Laidlaw, a therapist at the spa, said: “It was really extensive training we went through and we have learned so much.”

She said everyone, no matter what their health issues, should have a lovely relaxing day when they visit a spa and hopefully forget about their problems for a while.

Jill Russell, the spa director, said throughout October they will be donating £1 from every spa day booked to Macmillan Cancer Support and they will also be launching a scheme where every month people can nominate a Macmillan nurse to receive a free spa day.

Further information or bookings call 0191 375 3088, email enquiries@ramsidespa.co.uk or visit www.ramsidespa.co.uk.