World Cancer Day on February 4 reminds us of the need for collective action. At the Four Seasons Resort Bali, this is the best time to correct misconceptions that prevent cancer survivors from enjoying the overall benefits of massage.

After intensive training by certified expert Christine Clinton, Four Seasons Resort Bali launched groundbreaking cancer care massages at two of its spas: the new Healing Village Spa at Four Seasons Resort Jimbaran Bay, and the new Healing Village Spa in Saiyan, Bali The Sacred River Spa at the Four Seasons Resort at the foothills of Ubud. In Indonesia, more than a dozen therapists from two spas completed the training with Luisa Anderson, the director of the regional spa. She herself was a former oncology nurse and she witnessed the side effects of cancer treatment and how massage can improve the 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 had access to until now.”

Luisa says many spas do not offer massage to cancer survivors, guests in active treatment, or 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 cancer sufferers globally, and further impacted their quality of life.”

Four Seasons training follows the Cancer Care Touch Standards Authority, which is recognized as the national standard for spas, salons, and therapists in the UK and Ireland. The cancer care massage provides a 60-minute or 90-minute experience, using customized oils to soothe dry or radiation-irritated skin, release scar tissue and provide lymphatic support.

This is a completely personalized experience, and it is recommended to soothe the nervous system, increase the sense of calm and emotional support at any stage of the cancer journey-before treatment, during treatment, or recovery. Before the first meeting, the therapist conducts an in-depth consultation to understand the guest’s cancer type, treatment methods, and side effects. Then they adjust the massage, including body posture, bed position, pressure, and technique.

The Cancer Care Massage is the first step towards comprehensive self-care programs being launched at Four Seasons Resorts Bali in 2021, led by resident wellness experts. The retreats will cater to people at various stages of the cancer journey, 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 in collaboration with certified nutritionist Miles Price (Life Clinic, Hong Kong), and 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 Ibu 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. We are now ready to offer a much deeper level of holistic wellbeing than ever before.”