Spa Treatments & Chemo

Does anyone know if there’s any ‘do’s or don’t’s’ regarding attending spas (steam rooms, swimming,massage etc) whilst going through chemo?


Funny you should ask that Sarah as I went to a spa the other weekend… I asked the therapist what treatments I could have, having just had my last chemo - turns out I couldn’t have many - massages were out due to surgery and aromatherapies and body wraps were out due to fact they could draw chemo drugs out through the skin. I also was advised not to go in the sauna or steam room… and I couldn’t use the pool because of risk of infection!! I was told I could have manicures, pedicures, facials and a head massage but that was about it. Shame really as I was really looking forward to chilling out. I think it probably wouln’t have done any damage to me if I had had a massage, or body wrap… but I just think these places like to know if you have a pre-existing condition so that they can cover themselves if you do start to feel ill. Hope you manage to have a nice time anyway. Carrie

Hi Sarah

You may find Breast Cancer Care’s publication on ‘Complementary therapies’ helpful to read, it can be either downloaded via the link:

or via the helpline on Helpline - 0808 800 6000 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm,Saturday, 9am - 2pm

Best wishes

Hi Sarah - I went to Cedar Falls Health Spa in Somerset for 5 days during chemo. Before I went I had to fill in a medical questionnaire and they advised me that I needed a letter from my Oncologist, approving treatment. The only remark he made was “no massage to upper chest”, I had an aromatherapy massage and a “hydro massage” where I laid on a water bed which oscillated my body top to toe - magical! I went to hydrotherapy exercise classes each morning, swam in the outdoor and indoor pool, and used the jacuzzi. I didn’t use the sauna or steam room as I have very low blood pressure. The food was healthy, but delicious, and we had wine with dinner. There were lots of different exercise classes during the day and talks in the evening. My husband paid for myself and a close friend to go as a treat and I came home very relaxed and ready to face the rest of chemo. We were lucky with the weather as it was June and were able to sunbathe on the terraces. Only problem was my friend got some lettuce stuck in her throat and ended up in hospital! Bizarre, when it was me that was “ill”. We are thinking of going back again this year when the weather is better. Hope you enjoy your break.


All i know is that i begged to be allowed to swim whilst on chemo and everyone just screamed no no no!!! water habours bacteria apparently!!!

Thanks for all your advice. We’re staying at the hotel anyway, they just happen to have a spa there so will check with my breat care nurse first and maybe get a letter from the ocologist just in case.

Liz - your lettuce story made me laugh out loud (I imagine it wasn’t funny at the time and I didnt realise lettuce was so dangerous !)

Take care everyone