Angie's Spa provides massages, acupuncture to cancer patients

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Funding for cancer research is the main focus for many charities, but what many patients need during treatment is to de-stress and to feel appreciated.

The magic of medical massage is part of one woman's legacy known as Angie's Spa, and it's become a haven for healing.

At the Northridge Hospital, Marta Blum is one of those patients who is able to get a free massage every time she goes in for chemotherapy thanks to the Angie's Spa Cancer Foundation.

The heart and inspiration of this organization is Angie Levy, a young cancer patient who succumbed to her disease after a decade-long battle. In those years, her friends said she never stopped living.

"She was managing her doctor's appointments, she was organizing her pills, she was updating family members. She was dating, she was working, she was going to school and she was incredibly stressed," said Joanna Klein, co-founder of the foundation.

Spa getaways were Levy's escape, and she soon realized how she could help other cancer patients get through some of the darkest days.

It's understood how massage can help with pain, anxiety and stress, but it can even help manage the side effects of treatment. Studies show it can also help with healing.

Nancy Berry, executive director and co-founder of the organization, said massage as well as acupuncture can get patients out of the hospital sooner than expected. This also helps patients save money in the long run.

Besides Northridge Hospital, Angie's Spa funds massage, yoga and acupuncture programs at five other medical centers across the country.

"I just love the idea that she dreamed of having a spa of her own one day [and] now we feel like she does," Klein said.

Balancing life's challenges is tough, but Blum encourages other patients to put themselves first.

"Knowledge is power and get whatever information you can. Try to get massages and release the tension and be strong and fight on," she said.

Through its fundraising efforts, Angie's Spa Cancer Foundation is hoping to fund massages at even more hospitals. The free therapeutic services are open to men and women undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

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