At Lansdowne Resort and Spa, guests who are affected by chronic and terminal illnesses can now experience hands-on treatments to better manage their medical conditions.
Spas are often associated with indulgent pampering, but are seldom regarded as a source of healing for critically ill patients. At Lansdowne Resort and Spa, A Destination Hotel in Leesburg, Va., spa guests who are affected by chronic and terminal illnesses can now experience hands-on treatments to better manage their medical conditions.
This past February, the property’s Spa Minerale introduced an oncology menu to its roster of services, after two team members had been diagnosed with cancer.
“They wanted to utilize the spa as a platform and resource that would help other cancer patients and survivors,” says Director of Spa Amanda Vassar.
After partnering with local non-profit Team Mathias, an organization that raises awareness and supports pediatric cancer patients and their families, the spa’s program was marketed as a resource for local families that had been affected by cancer. Word-of-mouth referrals directed area residents to the spa where guests could utilize a range of treatments in the Road to Recovery package. These include the Road to Recovery massage (a modification of the spa’s existing massage techniques designed to safely work with complications of cancer and cancer treatments), hairpiece consultation (for those looking for a particular wig style), and complimentary head shaving.
To prepare themselves for these oncology treatments, the spa staff underwent an extensive three-day training session led by Healwell, a non-profit that specializes in hands-on education and instruction for massage therapists.
“This course provides the essential skills and knowledge to be prepared to treat a variety of clients affected by cancer,” explains Vassar. Practical training, supplemented by bookwork, served as the comprehensive curriculum for spa employees, including massage therapists and salon stylists.
To date, the Road to Recovery program has received 25 guests since its opening. It will be promoted further to spa guests and the local community through e-mail blasts and social-media posts in the coming months.
“We are fortunate in that we have not received any challenges in the implementation of this program, and the local community has been very positive,” says Vassar. “Spa guests and several resort associates have been very grateful to have this type of experience available to them, and have been very verbal in letting us know how much this truly means to them.”
For other properties to integrate a similar type of program into their wellness menu, including those that do not have elaborate spa facilities in place, Vassar says the most healing element is that of touch.
“More than anything, our recovery program is designed to provide the gift of touch to others, no matter their current or past medical history,” Vassar says. “Our goal is to bring awareness and healing to the many families and individuals going through transitional periods in their lives.”
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