[Image: Courtesy of Soothe]

On May 29, 2019, on-demand massage service Soothe and cancer research/treatment center City of Hope celebrated the first anniversary of the Soothe Elizabeth Danu Cancer Initiative, in which licensed therapists certified in oncology massage provide free weekly chair massage to cancer patients, families and caregivers, as well as staff and clinicians, at City of Hope’s Duarte main campus. Because cancer treatment takes such a heavy emotional and physical toll on patients and caregivers, Soothe has decided to expand initiative to twice weekly.

Soothe therapists provide massages at the hospital for 8 hours, with each therapist performing four chair massages per hour (or 32 people daily). Adds Jeff Bishop, VP of operations at Soothe: “The initiative was named after former Soothe recruiter Elizabeth Danu, a breast cancer survivor who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2019.”

“It was so wonderful to hear very positive feedback from participants in the Soothe Elizabeth Danu Cancer Initiative at this special event, and we are very glad to hear that this program is making a positive impact on the lives of cancer patients, families, hospital staff and even our Soothe therapists,” says Bishop. “Bringing the power of healing via massage therapy has been emotionally and physically rewarding for all parties.”

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“Given the dire situations of many City of Hope patients, who are in various stages of cancer treatment or recovery, receiving the gift of touch is a ray of light for many,” says massage therapist Christine Venegas, who has been involved with the initiative since its inception in May 2018. “We see many people who are suffering from anxiety, worry, exhaustion due to lack of sleep, and pain, and massage brings them some degree of relief, ease, and a feeling of being cared for and loved, especially when they are feeling very down.”

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The clinicians at City of Hope also have high praise regarding the benefits of massage for hospital staff who dedicate long hours to providing high quality care for cancer patients. Says Dr. Clarke Anderson, who leads City of Hope’s “Well-Being Committee” for medical staff members and allied health professionals, “Self-care and personal resilience is critical to reduce stress and prevent burnout. Often the hospital staff—employees—neglect this critically important part of well-being. The impact of 15 minutes of massage will refresh and rejuvenate the mind and body and allow the hospital staff to continue their service to the patients and families of City of Hope. Give yourself permission—you deserve it.”

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