Complementary therapies are as important as clinical care ellenor. This holistic approach addresses the physical health of patients and their families -- as well as their mental wellbeing.
That is why National Complementary Therapy Week (March 20-25) is so important to the therapists at ellenor. They want to share their successes and explain how important their therapies are in controlling pain and combatting stress and insomnia.
After working at ellenor for nearly seven years, Sally needs no persuading as to the benefits of complementary therapies for those with life limiting illnesses and their loved ones.
Senior Complementary Therapist Sally Baker said: “I absolutely love working in this environment and really enjoy being able to help and comfort people along their journeys.”
Sally can offer reiki, aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. She works three days a week and is helped by volunteer Michelle, who works one afternoon a week. They offer patients, their families, carers, and the bereaved up to three sessions of any treatment.
“Complementary therapies are more personal and are used alongside conventional medical treatment. It may help you to feel better and cope better with your illness. “That’s why it is called complementary,” said Sally.
“You can go to the doctor, and they can reassure you but what I do is hands on and I am with the patient for an hour-long session. It’s a lot of time to be able to talk and get a sense that someone is listening, which is really important. We are not trained counsellors, but we are trained in listening skills.”
Complementary therapies can help with some of the side effects of clinical treatment, the neuropathy caused by chemotherapy for example.
On Zoom, Sally also now runs a weekly Mindfulness and Relaxation class, concentrating on breathing and relaxation techniques. Once a month volunteer and meditation practitioner Camilla Baker take the class.
“It was one of the good things to come out of lockdown,” said Sally. “It’s a one-hour session and we usually have between 10 and 16 people taking part. Often, they are people who would find it difficult to get into the hospice, either because they are bedbound or have transport issues.
“There is also a twice-monthly Zoom group called Therapies for the Senses, an interactive group where we talk about the different types of therapies and give demonstrations. We show people how to give themselves an Indian head massage, reflexology or how to carry out a technique called Tapping.
“We also look at different types of essential oils and their benefits as well as the different ways you can use them, in a diffuser for instance.”