Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Restoring Humanness at a time clients need us most
By Julie Bach – Spa4ThePink/Wellness for Cancer
There is a magic in your heart
From my heart, there is a strong desire to help change the way the wellness industry perceives people touched by cancer. My role as a cancer advocate is to speak up and represent the individuals who are less visible to the industry. In a world, which is burdened with more dis-ease than wellness, my role is to help steward the industry to better support our guests.
My message is quite simple: individuals who have been touched by cancer are like you and me, human. Those who have had unpleasant things done to their bodies need massage as an opportunity for their body to receive love.
Our guests do not deserve to be defined by their cancer, isolating them from the treatments that you and I receive. They don’t deserve to be stamped and labeled with “cancer”, subsequently to be given the “cancer massage.” For even just one hour, they are coming to spas or wellness centers to not be the cancer person. They come to reset, reconnect, and restore.
Our industry must do better to show compassion.
My voice has resulted in the building of a global interdisciplinary collaboration, setting the standard for individualized wellness for everyone.
So I ask you now “what is in your heart?”
As much as you feel great joy and a sense of helping humanity as a therapist, you may also feel a little nervous about hearing the word cancer, or seeing it on your client’s consultation. I know that you, like me, became a therapist because you wanted to help people. Wellness for Cancer developed it’s accredited training program, now in over 45 countries, to help you incorporate your desire to help people at a time when they need you the most.
Some of you have been inspired by your parents, friends, or family members who have gone through a journey with cancer. You may have even had personal experiences with cancer. Perhaps you’ve met a person that inspired you to do more.
Don’t lose sight of why you became a therapist- don’t lose sight of the spark that kept you going through your initial courses.
Great therapists don’t hide their humanity. They are compassionate and gracious with their clients, offering their humanity as a gift. As a human you know what it is like to feel vulnerable, scared and uncertain.
Recognize this in your clients, and offer them your presence. Face your fears/hesitation about cancer and learn how you can be in service to others without labeling them as “the cancer client.” As a human, cancer may evoke uncertainty or fear. Know that the evidence supports that the benefits of massage exist for anyone touched by cancer, at any stage, for any type.
The clients whom you care for will change you. They will change you with their courage, their humor, their vulnerability, and their humanity. As therapists, we enter the room as a stranger, and over time, become part of their support to remind them of their humanness.
Life is not always glamorous as a therapist: it can be exhausting, thankless, stressful, frustrating and sad. It takes courage and compassion to be a therapist, especially working with people touched by cancer.
Whether you elect to continue on and volunteer your time, or further your education remember your reason for becoming a therapist.
Always remember to be proud of the work that you do, the person that you are and the difference that you can make.
And whenever you are in doubt, remember the “why” that’s in your heart.
By: Julie Bach Executive Director and Founder, Wellness for Cancer