Complementary Therapy Week

How much do you know about Complementary Therapy?

The 20th to 26th March marks Complementary Therapy week. So, we’d love to take this opportunity to tell you a bit more about Complementary Therapy and how we use it alongside our other support at Primrose Hospice & Family Support Centre.

At Primrose Complementary Therapy is offered as part of our Living Well service to patients living with life-limiting illnesses and individuals who are bereaved or have a loved one living with a life-limiting illness.

All our Complementary Therapy sessions are delivered by qualified volunteers or our Complementary Therapy and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Julie. We sat down with Julie and Helen – one of our volunteers to learn a bit more about Complementary Therapy.

How would you describe Complementary Therapy to someone who hadn’t heard of it before?A photo of a woman who is a complementary therapy volunteer at Primrose Hospice

Helen: Complementary Therapy, of which there are many to choose from, can be given alongside conventional medicine and treatments. There are a huge variety of therapies and the one you receive will depend on what you choose or has been chosen for you, by assessment of your illness or situation.

When we receive a referral for an individual our team will provide an assessment, so they know what is a suitable therapy for you.

Complementary Therapy can help in a variety of ways, but the main purpose is to aid, comfort, relax, reduce anxiety, promote healing, re balance the body, spiritual healing, and more, depending on the therapy you choose.

At Primrose Hospice we offer: reflexology, relaxation, reiki, various types of massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and much more!”

Why do you think people should be open to receiving Complementary Therapy?

Julie: “The Chinese culture believes that we should stop for a minute a day. Stop moving, stop thinking and a lot of people find that reallyA woman who is the complementary therapy and wellbeing co-ordinator at Primrose Hospice difficult, even for a minute. So Complementary Therapy allows you that time to stop and relax.”

Helen: “Most things are worth a try. How do you know what it’s like until you have tried it? In my experience, most of my clients have benefited and have left feeling relaxed and less stressed. Some people who were sceptical have even been pleasantly surprised! If it helps you and you feel better after, then isn’t it worth a try?”

How can Complementary Therapy support someone who is living with a life-limiting illness?

Helen: “Not only can it benefit someone to come out of their home environment to different surroundings and see new faces, but they can experience 30 – 40 minutes of time for themselves to relax, feel comfortable, sleep or chat in a safe space with their therapist. Touch is so very important and in my therapy, Reflexology, you are touching the feet, which can be so relaxing and comforting without intruding into someone’s personal space!”

Julie: “When an individual is caring for someone with a life-limiting illness it’s about them learning to carve out time for themselves, because their person, whether it be partner, parent, child, whoever it may be is their focus, so they forget about themselves. And if they don’t look after themselves, they’re of no use to that person, and they fall down.”

How can Complementary Therapy support someone who is experiencing bereavement? 

Julie: “Again, it’s about that space and time, but it’s about teaching them to relax, about them learning to be in this moment, here and now. So although the therapies are doing what they do to the body, it’s about their mind finding that space and time here. So you’re not thinking ahead, I’ve got to sort out the house in the next month or other things they may be thinking about, and you’re not worrying about what you didn’t do or you feel you should have done in the past. So it’s about learning to be here in the present.”

Helen: “I have found that when my clients are comfortable with me, their surroundings and treatment, that they tend to chat to me about their loved ones who have sadly died. I feel this is very important and part of their healing process. Often, they may have no one to talk to about their experience, as they worry about upsetting other family members. I am a stranger, and quite often they find it easier to talk to me.”

Do you have any memorable moments from volunteering and working with Primrose Hospice?

Julie: “We had a lady come to visit us, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. And she was ‘crumpled’ is the only word I can use to describe it. But after a simple back massage, she walked out a completely different person. She walked out with her head held high and a smile on her face. And her Mom, who was waiting for her said, ‘What have you done to her? How did that happen?’”

What is your favourite thing about volunteering and working with Primrose Hospice?

Helen: “Primrose is not what you think, or certainly not what I was expecting…it has a cheerful, positive, happy atmosphere and is a welcoming place to work. Full of lovely, caring people!”

Julie: “We know the physiological effects that Complementary Therapy has on people, we know what it does to the body. But we don’t know what it does to the brain. You don’t know what it does to their emotions. Until you hear those stories and feedback of how it’s helped people and you go, okay, it makes a difference to their lives. What I do makes a difference!”

We’re always looking for new Complementary Therapy volunteers so what would you say to other people to encourageSomeone giving complementary therapy to a client at Primrose Hospice them to volunteer with Primrose Hospice?

Helen: “Come and see for yourself, read all about us and pop in for a chat! We are here to help and we would be delighted if you would join us.”

Julie: “As I talked to people, I always say they’ll never find anything more rewarding because of the impact you have on people. So, as I talk to therapists that apply, it is about the enrichment to their own life that they’ll get from helping other people.”

If you are interested in learning more about Complementary Therapy or would like to volunteer with us, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more on our website here.

Or contact Julie our Complementary Therapy and Wellbeing Co-ordinator here:

T: 01527 889799