In part, in celebration of World Cancer Day on 04 February, the Four Seasons Resorts Bali has launched groundbreaking Cancer Care Massage Therapy. The innovative holistic approach to wellness was devised by certified specialist Christine Clinton who, together with Four Season’s Regional Spa Director Luisa Anderson, have rigorously trained a dozen therapists from both Four Seasons properties in Bali.
Anderson brings a particular passion and understanding to the Cancer Care Massage Therapies offered to guests usually ignored by conventional spa programs. Anderson is a former oncology nurse who has seen first-hand the side effects of cancer treatments and how massage can improve quality of life. In Bali, the therapists undergoing training were paired with women living with breast cancer known as “Bali Pink Fighters,” a support group of the Bali very own Pink Ribbon Foundation. The Pink Fighters participated in massage trials for the hands-on part of the two-week training, sharing with the therapists and each other their personal cancer stories.
The new Cancer Care therapies have been specially designed to provide professional care for people undergoing cancer treatment or cancer survivors. Many spas do not offer massage to cancer survivors, guests in active treatment, or those with a history of cancer, as there is a misconception that massage can spread 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,” says Luisa. “Massage has been clinically proven to improve immune function, reduce pain and enhance sleep. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has derailed treatment plans for millions of people living with cancer and further impacted their quality of life.”
“It was a very emotional training,” says Luisa, who is based at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The therapists were so touched by their connection with the ladies from Bali Pink Ribbon Foundation, and the participants were grateful to be touched both physically and emotionally through massage – something the rest of us take for granted but which they haven’t enjoyed access to until now.”
The Four Seasons training followed the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care, recognized as the national standard for spas, salons, and therapists in the UK and Ireland. Available as a 60-minute or 90-minute experience, the Cancer Care Massage uses bespoke oils to soothe dry or radiation-irritated skin, release scar tissue, and provide lymph support.
It is a completely personalized experience and recommended at any stage during the cancer journey – pre-treatment, treatment, or rehabilitation – to soothe the nervous system and increase the sense of calm and emotional support. Before the first session, the therapist conducts an in-depth consultation to determine the guest’s type of cancer, treatment, and side effects. They then adjust the massage, including body position, bed set-up, pressure, and technique.
The Cancer Care Massage is the first step towards comprehensive self-care programs launched at Four Seasons Resorts Bali in 2021, led by resident wellness experts. The retreats will cater to people at various cancer journey stages, incorporating sleep therapy, chromatherapy, sound healing, touch therapy, energy rebalancing, yoga and meditation, and good nutrition.
Menus at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay have been created with certified nutritionist Miles Price (Life Clinic, Hong Kong). Four Seasons Resort Sayan has launched vegetarian menus inspired by the holistic Sattvic philosophy.
“Our intention is to complement and support cancer treatment plans with programs centered around mindfulness, healthy lifestyle, and nutrition,” says Luisa. “We have expanded and reconceived our two Spas and are proud to have resident experts such as Wellness Mentor Inu Fera (creator of the Sacred Nap); Spa & Wellness Manager Faraaz Tanveer (an award-winning yoga and qigong teacher); new menus created with our world-class chefs; and training by international practitioners who have broadened the knowledge and skills of our Balinese therapists.