Firstly, let me point out that the results that were released by the Health Spa Commission in the UK do not claim that spa treatments should in any way replace traditional cancer treatments. However, the results do point out that methods other than standard medicine can have positive effects and should be considered.
The study was carried out over 5 years and followed over 2000 men and women who were battling different forms of cancer. The results showed that those who partook in specialized spa days treatments over the course of 6 months were more likely to see an improvement in their condition than those who did not. In fact over 65% of those who had the treatments showed signs of improvement over the six months, compared to only 55% of who did not have treatments.
James Lancer, the study directory stated that the team were limited to the types of treatment they could prescribe. He pointed out that often cancer can be spread through the lymphatic system and so manipulation of areas around lymph glands can be dangerous to cancer sufferers. Additionally, some products used in traditional massage and skin care treatments can react badly with those used in chemotherapy. For these reasons massage was limited to localized areas and doctors were consulted on the ingredients in all skin care and beauty products used.
It is thought that the positive results for the patients were an effect of the relaxation that resulted from having the treatments such as a facial or pedicure etc. Lancer suggests that stress can often make cancer worse as the body natural processes begin to break down over a sustained period of anxiety. The treatments that the patients had helped reduce levels of stress dramatically, and this has the knock on effect of enabling the body to respond more actively to the cancer medicines.