Over my many years as a massage and beauty therapist, I have worked with thousands of people who want a little bit of break from the real world, an escape to relax and recuperate. But one of those people stands out in my mind more than any other, and I’ll never forget her.
I don’t want to share the lady’s real name, so I’ll call her Helen.
Helen visited me for the first time in 2013, for a massage treatment. As I took her details, asked about any special requirements and explained the treatment to her, I was taken aback as tears started to roll down Helen’s cheeks and she began to sob.
As I comforted her, Helen explained that she had been undergoing treatment for cancer, and this was the first time she had received a massage since her diagnosis. She told me that having a massage had previously been a regular occurrence for her and she loved the escapism and relaxation it provided.
However, since Helen had been diagnosed with cancer, several businesses had refused to treat her because of her condition. She had started to feel like an outsider, unwanted, and was desperately missing the treatments that used to be such a valued part of her life.
I realised then that people being treated for cancer and other conditions need the indulgence and escapism that massage and other treatments offer, perhaps more than people who fortunately have good health. Yet they may be denied that treatment, or if they have mobility problems, they may be physically unable to access treatments because of poorly designed premises.
I was determined to learn everything I could about how to support clients with serious health conditions and to build that into my future business plans.
I enrolled on a highly acclaimed course with Jennifer Young, focused on oncology massage, to learn how to look after clients during and after their cancer treatment. I read everything I could get hold of on the topic. And then, very sadly, I had the opportunity to put my learning into practice on my lovely mum.
Being able to treat my mum during her cancer journey was very special for both of us. With my training, I knew I was working safely and using techniques that took account of the effects of both the disease and its treatment. I will always treasure those times with my mum.
At Evermore, we aim to offer our services to everyone we possibly can. We make sure we are fully insured to support people with a wide range of conditions – that’s not the case with every day spa. We train all our therapists to recognise and support the needs of our customers with health conditions. And when we designed our premises, we made sure that the corridors and doors are easy to navigate in a wheelchair and that all our facilities, including our toilets are fully wheelchair accessible.
I think of Helen often, and hope that one day I’ll meet her again and be able to tell her how she changed the course of my professional life, and the benefits that has had for many people ever since, including my much-loved mum.