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Cancer charity launches Scotland's first massage academy

This news post is 7 months old

The project is the brainchild of the charity's award-winning head of service, Stephanie Quigley

A cancer charity has become the first in Scotland to launch a new training academy to teach qualified massage therapists how to treat people affected by the illness.

Cancer Support Scotland decided to develop the course after hearing from patients who are routinely turned down for massage therapy over fears treatments encourage the disease to spread - despite there being no medical evidence of a link. 

The new training academy is the brainchild of the charity's award-winning head of service Stephanie Quigley (pictured), who hopes it will allow trained masseurs the chance to expand their businesses. 

She said: "People often tell our staff and volunteers they have been turned away from salons and spas because they have a history of cancer. 

"This happens due to myths that surround the condition, which come because of misunderstanding cancer and the treatments that are commonly given. 

"Adapted massage by a trained therapist is perfectly safe for someone with a cancer diagnosis, and this is now accepted by oncologists nationally."

Cancer Support Scotland is passionate about changing these misconceptions so that people affected by the illness have improved access to complementary therapies.

The fully accredited Federation of Holistic Therapies course offers a combination of online and practical training, with a diploma for those successfully completing it.

The charity believes those living with cancer will also benefit from more spas, saloons and private practices learning the skills.

Stephanie said: "People will have the chance to discover the knowledge and techniques to offer safe massage services for those receiving or having completed oncology treatment. 

"We hope businesses will recognise the opportunities the course can bring, as well as what they in return will be able to give those facing or recovering from cancer."

Cancer Support Scotland chief executive Rob Murray added: "We are proud to be leading the way with what we feel is an important step forward for those affected by cancer with the development of a training academy that we believe can be a real gamechanger for people coping with a cancer diagnosis.

"We are delighted to be able to share Stephanie's expertise and skill set to help expand the availability of oncology massage across Scotland. I would encourage anyone interested in this service to reach out to us and get in touch."

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Ruth Duncan
6 months ago

Thank you for this information.

The Scottish Massage Therapists Organisation (SMTO), based in Edinburgh, is the only dedicated member organisation in Scotland for the massage and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of appreciating the devolved health responsibilities throughout the UK.

SMTO would have welcomed a conversation regarding the provision of SQA accredited massage training program to support those patients living with cancer.

SMTO was directly involved in setting up the the IRIS partnership, a charity which operated in Scotland for the sole purpose of teaching massage therapists appropriate skills for working with patients living with cancer. Therefore, Cancer Support Scotland is not the first.

Currently, there are numerous Oncology Massage training courses throughout the UK as continuing professional development for qualified therapists, including well established courses already operating in Scotland.

SMTO has offered Oncology Massage both through the IRIS partnership and other training providers on a regular basis and there is already an Oncology Massage directory for these therapists.

The Federation of Holistic Therapists, based in England, caters predominantly for Beauty and Spa services, bearing in mind that health is a devolved responsibility. While these therapists are more than able to adapt their skills for palliative care, currently, the majority of qualified Oncology Massage Therapists are Holistic and Soft Tissue Therapists trained to work with statutory regulated healthcare services.

May I also comment on the term 'masseurs'. This term is no longer used for any CAM , beauty or massage service due to its connotations with massage parlours.

You may also wish to correct your spelling here. I hope that no massage is provided in a saloon!

"The charity believes those living with cancer will also benefit from more spas, saloons and private practices learning the skills."

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Sue Thomas
7 months ago

What a great idea. Finding this type of treatment is not easy, this will hopefully help it become more widely available across Scotland.