Complementary Therapies

Massage and reflexology, hypnotherapy and alexander technique are offered as one-to-one sessions at the Centre.

Please call our support officers for more information on 020 7924 3924 or click here for more details. 

Massage

Our experience of massage at the Centre shows that it is a simple, versatile and extremely effective support for people with cancer at all stages of the cancer journey.

A diagnosis of cancer can alienate people from their bodies. People can feel that their body has failed them or that they have no control over it or the disease. Sometimes cancer treatments radically alter people's bodies in a way they can't accept or people come to experience their bodies solely as a source of discomfort or pain.

Massage has shown itself invaluable in helping people to:

• accept their body as it is

• regain confidence in their body

• become aware of their body in a positive way

• remember what it feels like to find pleasure and enjoyment in their body

Massage can be adapted to suit each person. Just having a face and head massage can bring as many benefits as a more extensive treatment.

The most common response from a client after a massage is "I feel great and so relaxed". For many clients, having a massage is the first time they actually feel a sense of well-being since the onset of their illness, having had both physical and mental tensions stroked away.

One Centre member has written: "after having an amputation, I was devastated. I felt really low and lost confidence in myself. Massage helped me to put myself back together again."

 

Reflexology

Reflexology is a type of massage usually given to the feet, although it can also be given to the hands. The whole body is seen as mapped out on the feet - the right side of the body on the right foot and the left side on the left foot.

The organs or tissues in a particular body zone are linked to reflex points on the feet (or hands) and massage of these points treats the corresponding part of the body.

For example, the liver corresponds to a reflex point towards the outer side of the middle part of the sole of the right foot, and the spleen corresponds to a similar point on the sole of the left foot.

There are differing views as to how reflexology works. One view is that gentle massage helps to improve blood circulation and stimulates the body's immune system. Another is that the body's natural energy flow is blocked by illness or stress, and the reflexologist can feel a change in a particular reflex point that corresponds to the blocked part.

Massage to this area can remove the blockage so that energy can flow freely again. A possible effect of reflexology is that massage encourages the body to produce its own painkillers (endorphins), which could lead to fewer painkilling drugs being needed.

Reflexology is very popular with clients at the Centre and they all say it really helps them to relax.

 

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is well-established as a supportive therapy for people with cancer.

Sessions start with an explanation of hypnosis to ensure that the patient appreciates that it is simply a way of relaxing the conscious mind (and also the body) so that the unconscious mind can receive beneficial suggestions.

Once the patient has experienced a hypnotic trance they are taught self hypnosis, to be followed by:

* guided visualisation

* motivation to develop their inner resources and stimulate their immune system

* help with building a positive attitude towards any medical treatment in order to reduce unwanted side-effects

* encouragement to improve their quality of life.
 

Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique (AT) is a very gentle, non-invasive hands-on practice that teaches you to be more aware of how you move in all daily activities. You can understand where you are holding tension in your body and learn how to reduce it.

The Alexander Technique can improve the quality of everything you do.  With an increased awareness you can:

* reduce acute and chronic pain

* prevent pain developing

* be better balanced and coordinated

* increase your well-being

* move more lightly and effortlessly

* be more alert and focused

* breathe and speak more easily

* become more calm and confident


If you are living with or recovering from cancer, Alexander Technique can help you feel more positive about your body, help to reduce pain and help you to cope with stress.