The gift of relaxation

The gift of relaxation

Angie’s Spa teams with UF Health Jacksonville to offer cancer patients free massage

By Dan Leveton

Jax angie spaThe uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis, coupled with the painful side effects from cancer treatment, provide a perfect recipe for stress and anxiety. What could be better to ease some of that stress than a relaxing massage?

That’s why UF Health Jacksonville and the national organization Angie’s Spa Cancer Foundation have teamed up to provide comfort to cancer patients. The organization awarded UF Health Jacksonville a $23,000 grant to provide oncology massage. As part of the grant, researchers also will document the effectiveness of the initiative.

Founded in memory of Angie Levy, who passed away in 2007 at age 36 after battling breast cancer for nine years, Angie’s Spa is a charitable cancer foundation that funds hospital programs across the country with the express purpose of providing free therapeutic spa services to cancer patients. These spa services are designed to alleviate painful side effects from cancer treatment, provide relaxation and give patients a self-esteem boost.

“We’re so thankful to Angie’s Spa for allowing us to give this incredible service to the people who need it most — those dealing with a very difficult time in their lives,” said Sarah Rausch-Osian, Ph.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine in the College of Medicine-Jacksonville, who is managing the project. “We hope to use data over the next year to show that these types of services can provide comfort and better outcomes for cancer patients everywhere.”

UF Health Jacksonville was just one of six hospital programs across the country to receive the funding.

“We are thrilled to partner with Jacksonville, as our overwhelming goal is to provide consistent, reliable care/comfort to those cancer patients in dire need of something beneficial and positive,” said Kathleen Conner, president and co-founder of Angie’s Spa. “The beauty of the program is allowing patients to receive these services at no cost, so that no cancer patient needs to feel like they have to go without something else to receive these benefits.”

So far, UF Health Jacksonville professionals say the response from patients has been positive. One patient commented, “You’re like an angel. I came here and I was very anxious, just really wound up, I just didn’t know what to do — but now I feel so much more relaxed.”

“I am so grateful to Angie’s Spa for this opportunity to serve our patients by providing gentle massage,” said Marcia Patterson, a licensed massage therapist who serves as the massage therapy supervisor for the program. “Supportive, individualized massage therapy gives them a safe treat that helps them relax during this very challenging time.”