The Amethyst Trust develops insurable cancer massage course

A new course has been developed to enable therapists to massage cancer patients under insurance cover.

The Amethyst Trust, a charity founded in 2010 to help give people with cancer access to beauty and spa treatments, developed the specialist-training course with insurance cover from JMP Insurance.

The insurance provider is offering a “top up” policy both for individual therapists and beauty and spa businesses, allowing them to be covered for giving massage treatments to cancer patients, where it was previously difficult due to misconceptions about massage spreading cancer cells around the body.

The one-day course teaches the therapist how to make adjustments in their technique around alterations in the patient's body caused by their treatment, such as the removal of lymph glands or internal devices to release chemotherapy and colostomy bags. There is also consideration given to the emotional aspect of treating a client with cancer.

Therapists are taught to perform the treatment with the client lying on their back because most surgical procedures for cancer enter through the front of the body. The course also gives an introduction to The Amethyst Trust’s Hydrotherm Massage Therapy, which uses specially designed water-filled or heated cushions to assist with the treatment.

For each course run the trust will make a charitable donation to Penny Brohn Cancer Care in Bristol, which has endorsed the course, to support those affected by cancer.

Julie Speed, trustee of The Amethyst Trust and co-director of the International Beauty & Holistic Academy, commented: “There are a plethora of myths surrounding whether massage is safe whilst undergoing cancer treatment and the reality is that it is perfectly safe if adaptations are made. Recent research is showing that by 2016 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer, rising to 1 in 2 by 2050 so it is really important to the trust that we are able to help therapists competently treat those clients safely and effectively, whilst also providing appropriate insurance cover.”

The first Specialist Cancer Massage training course will take place on Monday 23 November at the International Beauty & Holistic Academy in Gloucester.