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Over 220 spas register for new industry standard for cancer touch therapy, launched by Sue Harmsworth

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The organisation has been hugely well-received with 220 spas now confirmed as SATCC-accredited

Sue Harmsworth, industry influencer and founder of ESPA, has recently announced the launch of the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care (SATCC).

Initially revealed in March, the SATCC’s mission is to offer a national standard enabling people touched by cancer access to appropriately qualified therapists and spas that are capable of catering to cancer sufferers’ individual needs, and to provide a safe platform for spas to find training courses.

Speaking to Spa Business, Harmsworth explained that the organisation has been “hugely well-received” and that over 220 spas are now SATCC-accredited, with that number growing daily.

She revealed that the SATCC is working alongside breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel!, with its founder, Kris Hallenga, working as an SATCC ambassador.

She also outlined that the group has ambitions to work with a host of charities to help support those touched by cancer by directing them to its accredited spas.

The need

Recent evidence has suggested one in two people born after 1970 in the UK are going to be touched by cancer, and that 60 per cent of both cancer patient cases and recurrent cancer cases are preventable by lifestyle choices.

Massage therapy can be used to support people who’ve had cancer and has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression and improve sleep quality.

Yet despite this, a vast number of spas still turn away people touched by cancer – arguably at the time they need the most support – due to lack of knowledge and fear of liability.

The action

Harmsworth formed the SATCC with a group of owners and founders of leading training providers in the UK and Ireland who share a combined 327 years worth of industry expertise and have trained well over 10,000 therapists - see complete list of members below.

The group’s 13-strong advisory board created an informed and jointly-agreed national standard which outlines guidelines for therapists on maintaining safe and effective methods of care while performing massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and other spa treatments on people affected by cancer.

It’s also launched a standards document, website, charter and separate evidence document outlining existing proven evidence of the many short- and long-term benefits of massage therapy for those touched by cancer, ranging from reducing stress and pain intensity to improving quality of life.

The standards document features specific guidelines for therapists on how to prepare, plan and conduct cancer touch therapy as well as information regarding complex contra-indications such as heat and lymphedema, and how to handle these appropriately.

The organisation aims to offer a reliable and centralised platform for therapists to find SATCC-accredited training courses and for consumers to find appropriately qualified therapists and spas.

To achieve this, the SATCC partnered with online consumer spa directory,, to allow consumers to identify spas with accredited therapists.

It’s also teamed up with Think Tree Hub – an online professional association for complementary therapists, practitioners, courses providers and the public seeking professional health treatments and accredited courses – to direct visitors to SATCC-accredited training providers and courses.

Follow this link to read more about the SATCC, or click here to access its new website.

Complete list of the SATCC’s committee

  • Amanda Winwood: MD of Made for Life Organics and founder of Made for Life
  • Foundation and Cancer Touch Therapy Training
  • Christine Clinton: founder of Christine Clinton Cancer Care
  • Debbie Moore: co-founder of the Amethyst Trust
  • Diane Hey: standards and qualification technical advisor to Habia Board
  • Jennifer Young: owner of Jennifer Young and Defiant Beauty
  • John Holman: MD of Hydrotherm Massage Systems
  • Julie Speed: co-founder of the Amethyst Trust
  • Kim Ford: global consultancy examiner and lecturer
  • Kush Kumar: CEO of Think Tree Hub
  • Lisa Barden: group director of spa and wellness at Arora
  • Marc Innes: principal of School of Natural Therapies
  • Marian Hook: director of MJH Spa and Wellbeing
  • Sue Harmsworth: founder of ESPA and Sue Harmsworth Ltd

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Sue Harmsworth, industry influencer and founder of ESPA, has recently announced the launch of the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care (SATCC).
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