Is it safe to give a gift certificate?

This is a common and potentially difficult situation.  Many spas do not have trained oncology massage therapists on staff.  Some may have trained therapists but are tightly scheduled, leaving little time for a thoughtful medical intake/interview.  Some spas provide a trained oncology massage therapist who does medical intake and gives instructions to untrained therapists. 

The issue that confuses this scenario is that finding a properly trained therapist has little to do with the setting and everything to do with the therapist.  It is best to find a trained therapist who has the time to use the training he or she a spa or not.

You may want to check into who is practicing at the spa before giving the gift certificate to your loved one/friend/colleague.  The questions in our Is Your Therapist Trained? section can help you discern if there is a therapist at that location who is properly prepared to work with the unique adjustments that may be required by the cancer treatment or history of the person to whom you plan to give the gift certificate.   You can easily adapt the questions to address them to a manager of a spa.  

You may need to be persistent.  The spa will want to keep your business (and who can blame them?) and provide the recipient with a "nice, relaxing" session, but they simply may not know how to do that safely.  In that case, the safest thing to do is to request a refund and consider other options, perhaps by finding a therapist through S4OM's therapist locator.