3 November 2023

Hospital pilots beauty therapist for cancer patients

For the last five months we’ve been trialing a specialist beauty therapist for our cancer patients at University Hospital Southampton. Grace Tarr tells us more,

“I’ve worked in the beauty industry for the last 13 years, however during the Covid-19 pandemic, I took classes to specialise in oncology beauty so I could adapt my skill set and techniques for those people currently living with cancer.

There are so many benefits for patients such as reduced anxiety, improved sleep quality and moods, plus reduced pain and pain perception.

How you ask me? There are lots of patients with a phobia of needles, so having a hand massage helps to reduce anxiety.

When I’m working in Hamwic House where patients receive chemotherapy, nurses will often ask me to massage on the other hand while they are putting in a pic line for treatment in the other arm. Often just having a friendly ear and some conversation to act as a distraction can work wonders!

For those patients who are admitted to hospital for days or weeks at a time, they have usually not had the best sleep as the hospital is always so busy. When I’ve given foot massages, I’ve had people fall fast asleep as it is so relaxing.

The beauty treatments are designed to help to take patients out of their cancer bubble so they can feel like themselves again. These range from body massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, and scalp treatments, and are all free for patients.

This pilot was funded by Southampton Hospitals Charity so I could offer my services to cancer patients three days a week. My diary is always full, so it has been a huge success and one we hope to continue!”

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