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How one hotel is offering cancer patients dedicated spa treatments

Fairmont St Andrews is now offering Cancer Touch Therapy spa treatments. Abra Dunsby hears about the benefits of these tailored treatments for clients

Cancer Touch Therapy treatments, image by Made for Life Foundation
Cancer Touch Therapy treatments, image by Made for Life Foundation

Fairmont St Andrews has worked with the Made for Life Foundation to offer cancer patients specialised treatments in its spa

People with cancer, or those recovering from it, aren’t able to enjoy certain spa treatments due to increased muscle and pressure point sensitivity – but one hotel in Scotland is doing its bit to provide them with some much-needed R&R.


Fairmont St Andrews, part of Accor Hotels’ portfolio, launched Cancer Touch Therapy (CTT) wellness treatments last year. Having completed training, three of the hotel’s spa therapists are now accredited Cancer Touch Therapists, and have been working with cancer patients since May.


The training was provided by the Made for Life Foundation, a charity that offers holistic support and treatments for people diagnosed with, and recovering from, cancer.


The luxury spa now offers a range of CTT wellness treatments using unique, adapted deep-relaxation techniques. The various treatments last for 35, 50 or 90 minutes and include an organic facial as well as various touch therapy treatments.

Light touch

“The new spa treatments use a Chinese technique called tui na, which is all about touch, using slow and methodical movements for deep relaxation,” says Morag Dunn, spa supervisor at Fairmont St Andrews.


The treatments do not include massages, Dunn explains, as a side effect of cancer is muscle sensitivity, causing massages to be uncomfortable.


CTT wellness treatments offered at the hotel’s spa include Hand on Heart, which focuses on the back, face and scalp, allowing guests “to drift away to a meditative state of relaxation”, and Touch Therapy for the face or body, with a sequence of slow, soothing movements tailored to the guest’s needs. The new treatments are also suitable for people with multiple sclerosis, ME, pregnant women or those who have had surgery.

Welcome relief

Dunn says clients have welcomed the new treatments. Aside from the physical benefits of reducing stress, she adds that there are “psychological benefits” for cancer patients too.


“It can be quite embarrassing for them when they’re told they can’t have a treatment at a spa, and sometimes they’re turned away, so they feel like they’re losing out. These treatments allow patients to relax and to feel the same as everyone else, while taking a day off from their regular routine.”


Amanda Winwood, managing director and founder of Made for Life Organics and The Made for Life Foundation, says it’s important for cancer patients to have access to spa treatments. “At a time when a therapeutic and nurturing touch is most needed, 96% of spas still turn people away while they are going through cancer,” she says.


“Our accredited CTT training course has enabled spas to confidently open their doors to anyone going through cancer and provide much-needed support.”

Dunn says that around 25 patients have opted for CTT treatments, but that numbers are likely to grow when they are promoted in the spa’s new brochure, released next month.


“We’re also working with our marketing manager to plan a wellness day, where clients will be able to try out some of the new treatments,” she adds.

The hotel has been viewed as a pioneer in the local area, with others starting to follow suit and offering similar spa treatments.


“It’s great that we are offering these treatments – there’s always been demand for it and there are more people coping with cancer or recovering from cancer than people realise,” says Dunn.


The hotel’s aim is for more staff to be trained to become accredited Cancer Touch Therapists. “With all staff accredited, we won’t be as limited to the days and times that we can offer the CTT treatments to guests,” says Dunn.

Dan Naudo, director of golf, spa and leisure at the hotel, says that the treatments allow the hotel to offer “a point of difference”.


“It makes us stand out from our competitors and attracts a new audience, while at the same time helping people who are going through a hard time in their life.”

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