Cancer Recovery Spas and Retreats

Cancer is a dreaded disease, and sadly most of us will at some stage be directly or indirectly affected by it. A diagnosis invariably causes a ripple effect, striking fear not only into those just diagnosed, but also to partners, family members and friends, and dealing with this fear and anxiety is hugely important. Many cancer sufferers feel disempowered, confused and afraid of what lies ahead. Our medical system brilliantly provides excellent medical solutions, with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, but the results would perhaps be even more impactful if we addressed more than just the physical manifestation of the cancer, and rather also dealt with the stress and emotional devastation it leaves in its wake. So let’s use all the weapons in our arsenal – mediation, mindfulness, acupuncture, reiki, natural therapies and traditional remedies; after all we are at our most powerful when we all work together.

Spas must open their doors to those suffering from, and those in remission from, cancer. The disease is cruel enough, without the Spa world stigmatising those who endure this dreadful disease. Statistics paint a shocking picture – a recent survey confirms that 97% of Spas would turn guests with cancer firmly away. Given that 1 in 2 of us will get cancer at some stage in our life, this is simply unacceptable. Turning these people in need of healing away stems from the belief that massage can spread cancer cells. However, there is no medical evidence to support these findings. In fact, many oncologists recommend massages to their patients to help them better cope with their other draining medical treatments.

The London Oncology Centre, one of the UK’s leading cancer care specialists openly recommends complementary therapies, and sensibly sees this as paramount in boosting cancer patients’ physical and emotional health. Touch is the first sense we are most aware of as babies; we want to be touched, held, cuddled - it calms us when we are fearful, when we are in pain, when we need to be soothed. Touch can make us more resilient to stress because it signals safety and security. Touch is the primary language of compassion and can greatly benefit those who are recovering from cancer.

When pressure receptors in your skin are stimulated, your body naturally lowers your stress hormones and releases oxytocin, otherwise known as the ‘cuddle hormone’. This gives you a warm feeling of trust and attachment. And while this is an emotional benefit, there are strong physical benefits, too. Massage and stimulation of the pressure receptors helps with fluid retention, pain and depression, and provides an instant sense of wellbeing. A healthy touch enhances a sense of trust and attachment.

And it’s not only pampering retreats with massages that help. Yoga and Pilates are great to assist with flexibility and stamina, while tailored fitness programme will help you build strength. We are fortunate at Healing Holidays to be working with some great Spas and Retreats, who tailor programmes exclusively to help those who are in remission, or who have cancer.  




Chiva-Som International Health Resort is a perfect example - not only will they do a bespoke programme, they will help with nutrition and lifestyle advice. Chiva-Som’s Cell Vitality Retreat offers Bio-Feedback Rebalance, Acupuncture, Pranayama breathing and Refunctional Exercise, all tailored to the individual’s medical status, their physical needs, emotional states and doctor’s recommendations. We have wonderful retreats at Vana that not only will help you physically, but spiritually and emotionally too. And a strong female cancer survivor, Irina, credits Dr. Stossier at VIVAMAYR Maria Worth with helping her to recover from cancer after her surgery.

Vivamayr Maria Worth


For many cancer survivors, the emotional journey of the ‘system of care’ and other’s reactions leaves them drained and in need of supportive nurturing. All of these retreats provide this, and our Healing Experts can help to find the programme most suited to you.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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