Telford beauty therapist finds a new way to support cancer patients
From reducing pain and stress to improving mood and wellbeing, massage therapy can have many benefits.
Beauty therapist Emma Louth has been specialising in oncology massages and facials since completing her training in 2019.
And she has recently expanded her skills to offer a new way to help people recovering from cancer treatment.
She has become a specialist in oncology scar massage, which can alleviate discomfort and promote scar healing.
Being able to make her clients feel special during one of the most difficult and vulnerable times of their lives is something that Emma takes great pride in.
She moved into the specialist field after her mum, Karen McNamara, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her mum had visited her for treatments for years but her illness meant it was no longer possible as some of the techniques and oils used weren’t suitable.
At the time, it was difficult for cancer patients to find salons offering specialist treatments.
Emma, who is based in Telford, was inspired to find a way to help others going through the same experience to be able to still enjoy a soothing massage or facial.
After her mum passed away, Emma embarked on a training course with Jennifer Young, a business focused on specialist products for those living with cancer as well as oncology touch therapies.
She was taught about the different types of cancer and the medical treatments and drugs that are used to treat them as well as the possible side-effects of the drugs and how treatments can be adapted to take these into account.
The benefits of oncology massages and facials are said to include the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression, an improvement in mood, a reduction in general fatigue and reduction of pain, perception of pain and nausea.
It is also often used as part of palliative care, and many hospitals and healthcare professionals either offer it or recommend it as a useful treatment to support patient wellbeing.
In March this year, Emma decided to expand her skills and train to become an oncology scar specialist.
“I was researching how I could help my existing clients and other people who have had surgery due to having cancer.
“Often people can have a lot of discomfort and also anxiety about their scar,” explains Emma, who has more than 28 years of experience in the beauty and health industry.
Her research led her to Emma Holly, a scar therapy specialist and educator, who has a clinical practice in Harley Street, London.
She signed up to a training course which provided hands-on experience as well as the basic theory on wound healing, scar classifications, complications after cancer surgery such as lymphoedema.
“It really opened my eyes to how people who have had cancer treatment can be affected by their scars.
“Their scarring can be painful, it can limit their mobility and it can affect their general wellbeing because they might not be able to do certain things. They shouldn’t have to suffer due to pain, they need to go to the right person who can help them,” says Emma. The therapy is suitable for people who have undergone cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy and is tailored to accommodate the specific needs and limitations of each patient.
Usually, they can start having this specialist massage when the scar is eight to 10-weeks-old. “It does not hurt, it’s not a painful treatment,” says Emma, who has volunteered for Look Good Feel Better and Severn Hospice in her spare time.
There are many benefits such as helping to alleviate discomfort associated with scar tissue and reducing pain and tightness.
The therapy can also soften scar tissue, improve flexibility, and restore normal range of motion.
Other benefits include promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, and supporting emotional well-being while patients often experience improved sleep, reduced stress, and an increased sense of overall wellbeing.
“By improving the appearance and texture of scars, this treatment helps patients regain self-confidence and embrace their bodies post-treatment,” adds Emma.
Although she enjoys being able to provide every treatment she offers her clients, she says having the opportunity to specialise in oncology massages and facials – and now scar massage – is the most rewarding part of her job.
“Completing the training so I can provide these therapies has been one of the best things I have ever done. It sounds cliché but it’s very much true. I think you need to have compassion and empathy to do this job.”
For more information, see elbeauty.co.uk