It’s often easy to just see the numbers that approximately one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime or that this year alone more than 230,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. Every year, the massage therapists at Spa Gregorie’s see many of those numbers walk through their doors. But they don’t see them as just numbers, they see them as people, full of life and hope. One of those women is 59-year-old Pam Braswell who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in October 2012. Desperately seeking a way out of her pain, Braswell was first introduced to the Greet the Day program when she was browsing through materials at Orange Coast Oncology and Hematology. Soon after, she set up an appointment to see Johnnette du Rand at Spa Gregorie’s. After her first treatment, she realized how beneficial oncology massage could be in her battle against the disease. She’s now been back to the spa several times, and has seen the relief du Rand’s massages bring to her joints, weakened from hormone blockers and cancer treatment injections.
“She has a lot of empathy and a warm understanding of what I am going through,” says Braswell. “I can’t believe how much better I feel each time I see her, and really appreciate the way she accommodates my special needs.” With du Rand’s assistance, she hopes to one day regain her range of motion and possibly even pursue her love of dancing again.
For her part, du Rand has seen many women like Braswell come in seeking treatment since she helped start the program in 2003. She knew she’d found her calling to oncology massage after losing her own mother to the disease. While her mother was undergoing treatment, du Rand first learned of the specialized type of massage, tailored specifically to meet the needs of cancer patients. Shortly after, she quit her job in the pharmaceutical industry to take massage classes and it wasn’t long before she started working at Spa Gregorie’s. Within her first few months at the spa, Greet the Day was formed to improve the quality of life for people affected by cancer through education and restorative touch.
“I absolutely love what I do. Seeing the difference we as massage therapists can make on so many patients through the power of nurturing is remarkable,” says du Rand. “My clients remind me to live my life on purpose, and to appreciate every day.”
Effects of Oncology Massage
The effectiveness of massage therapy in alleviating the symptoms of a number of medical conditions has been demonstrated in on-going research and clinical studies. Studies have associated massage therapy with substantive relief of symptoms in cancer patients, such as pain, anxiety, and relief from fatigue, constipation and nausea. Patient safety is supported by advanced training, which is essential when working with an oncology clientele.
About Spa Gregorie’s Greet the Day Program
“Greet The Day”, a non-profit co-founded by Spa Gregorie’s in 2003, improves quality of life for people affected by cancer through education, oncology massage, and restorative bodywork. The Greet The Day Spa Day Retreat serves as a compliment to the patient’s traditional medical care and gives them the opportunity to move from a clinical center setting into a relaxing wellness environment. During the Spa Day Retreat, Spa Gregorie’s opens its doors exclusively to cancer patients who enjoy guided meditation, a spa service of their choice, lunch, and camaraderie with other survivors. Guests of the program are selected and referred by medical teams at the affiliated cancer centers. Greet the Day volunteers also serve in infusion centers, offering comforting hand and foot massage to patients receiving chemotherapy. Today, Spa Gregorie’s proudly provides the largest roster of nationally accredited massage therapists, aestheticians, and manicure/pedicure therapists in the world with over 35 oncology certified team members. As part of its menu of spa services, Spa Gregorie’s proudly offers Oncology massage and Manual Lymphatic Drainage, as well as other spa services customized to the needs of cancer patients. All accredited team members at Spa Gregorie’s have undergone postgraduate training for advanced education in oncology massage. The therapists service clients year-round by appointment and also volunteer through the spa’s “Greet the Day” Spa Retreat program.
With locations in Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita and Del Mar, Spa Gregorie’s has been giving back to those in need for well over a decade. In addition to “Greet The Day”, Spa Gregorie’s also boasts an annual cancer fundraising campaign and a staff payroll donation program for the cause. Spa Gregorie’s was awarded with the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation’s 2008 “Humanitarian Award” for its philanthropic efforts, continuous community support and devotion to “Greet The Day.” The spa maintains a highly dedicated effort to breast cancer awareness with regular partnerships with Susan G. Komen. Spa Gregories has sponsored Komen’s annual Race For the Cure since 1999, and over the years they have raised well over $150,000 for the cause. Learn more at www.greettheday.org.