Helping patients with life limiting illnesses using complementary therapies

Anna Haslam - Community and Wellbeing Services Manager

When a person is faced with a life limiting illness, their usual routine is turned upside down.  Having time to do the things they once enjoyed is replaced with clinic appointments, hospital admissions, difficult conversations and taking medication. Having time to relax can be a challenge.

Here at Wigan & Leigh Hospice, we understand how important it is to be able to have time to yourself, to relax and unwind.  We know that stress causes us to feel run down and unwell, so we feel that relaxation and stress relief is an important part of the care we offer to help with a person’s wellbeing.

Part of my role is to manage our complementary therapy service which offers a range of treatments designed to help with the medical treatments a patient may be undergoing, reduce symptoms caused by the illness, promote relaxation, develop coping strategies, reduce anxiety and influence a sense of wellbeing.

We believe that looking after those who care for someone with a terminal illness is important too, so this service is also available to them.  We recognise that the carer needs to feel energised and positive to be able to provide care and support to their loved one.

Treatments include aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, reiki, and relaxation therapy.  These treatments are offered alongside conventional medical treatments, they ‘compliment’ medical treatment and are not designed to be used as an alternative to medical treatment.

One patient said,

“I look forward to my sessions. I feel totally relaxed and energised. I am very grateful for this service.”

Another said,

“I had never had complementary therapies before, so I was unsure what to expect. The therapist explained everything. I was still recovering from cancer treatment and still feeling weak.  With the therapist’s calm, relaxing manner, I soon relaxed and benefitted physically and emotionally over the weeks.  I would highly recommend the service.”

Working as a complementary therapist can be very fulfilling as you are supporting people to help them to feel the best they can be.

Our complementary therapist, Sophia Swan said,

“I enjoy my work as a complementary therapist, I have the privilege of sharing the patient’s journey and I am able to help to empower them with self help tools to manage some of their symptoms alongside their conventional medicines.”

Find out more about what complementary therapies Wigan & Leigh Hospice can offer.