Some people like to use complementary therapies alongside conventional medicine but it can be a challenge trying to find a reputable practitioner. Always use therapists who observe a code of conduct. We have given a brief summary on some of the complementary therapies that are available and how to find a practitioner.
It is important that you inform either your GP or oncologist that you are considering complementary therapies to ensure that they don't interfere with any treatment you may be receiving.
Macmillan publishes a Directory of Complementary Therapies. A copy can be ordered by phone or web.
Telephone: 01344 350310
The National Guidelines for the Use of Complementary Therapies in supportive and palliative care is also a good source of information.
The Institute for Complementary Medicine is a UK registered charity that was formed in 1982 to provide the public with information on all aspects of the safe and best practice of Complementary Medicine through its practitioners, courses and research. The ICM administers the British Register of Complementary Practitioners (BRCP) which is a register of professional, competent practitioners who have all individually proved their competence to practice.
Telephone: 020 7237 5165
Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is the only international cancer support charity, providing practical and very effective free services for women and teenagers suffering from the visible side effects from cancer treatment.
LGFB is dedicated to improving the wellbeing and self-confidence of people undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. Many beneficiaries tell us that LGFB helped them regain a sense of control and normality at a time when diagnosis and treatment had taken over their lives.
At beauty workshops people can receive professional advice and guidance on how to cope with emotional and appearance related side effects of their treatments.
For more information:
- Telephone: 01372 470 900
- Website: www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk
The Alexander Technique is a way of improving body posture and teachers believe that, by achieving postural harmony, we can improve our body functions such as circulation, digestion and breathing.
The technique was invented by an actor called Frederick Matthias Alexander, who used it to help overcome his own breathing and voice problems. Over a number of lessons, the teacher will help you to achieve a more natural posture and show you techniques that you can apply to your everyday activities.
Alexander Technique may help to ease pain, relieve stress and improve breathing. The technique is gentle and causes no harm.
The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique
- Tel: 0845 230 7828
- Website: www.stat.org.uk
Aromatherapy is based on the healing properties of essential plant oils. The oils are extracted from the plants and diluted in a carrier oil. Practitioners believe that each oil has a particular effect on the body or mind.
The oils are usually massaged into the body, but they can be inhaled, used in a bath or in a cold compress placed next to the skin. Massage may not be recommended for some cancer patients. Please ask your doctor whether it is safe for you, before starting your aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy may help to relieve stress and tension, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Your aromatherapist should ask you about your medical history, allergies and any medicines you are taking before starting any therapy.
- Website: www.aromatherapycouncil.org.uk
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's energy or qi moving in a smooth and balanced way through 'channels' beneath the skin. By inserting fine needles into these channels, acupuncturists believe it stimulates the body's own healing response.
To find a practitioner contact:
British Acupuncture Council (BAcC)
- Telephone: 020 9735 0404
- Website: www.acupuncture.org.uk
British Medical Acupuncture Society
- Tel: 01606 786782
- Website: www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk
Herbal medicines have become part of our lives, but there have been concerns over their quality and safety. A European Union directive on traditional herbal medicinal products will make sure that all herbal medicines on sale in the UK are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
At the moment the UK herbal market place is a confusing mixture of regulated licensed herbal medicines, herbal products sold as food supplements and unlicensed herbal medicines with no claims and no quality requirements. This can lead to misleading or inaccurate claims for herbal products with a lack of accurate information available as to when it is appropriate for a consumer to use a particular herbal medicine.
To find a practitioner contact the National Institute of Medical Herbalists
- Telephone: 01392 426022
- Webiste: www.nimh.org.uk
The Penny Brohn Cancer Care Help Centre is a holistic centre offering complementary cancer care and advice to work alongside orthodox medical treatment. They provide a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual support using complementary therapies and self-help techniques, including practical advice on nutrition.
People can access Penny Brohn Cancer Care Approach through residential courses run by an experienced team of doctors, nurses and complementary therapists. The Centre also trains over 500 health professionals and complementary therapists each year in using the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Approach to support people with cancer.
- Website: www.pennybrohncancercare.org
- Helpline: 0845 123 23 10
Reflexology is a treatment in which pressure is applied to the feet to assess the patient's health and promote wellbeing. Each zone on the foot is said to correspond to a zone of the body, with energy flowing between the two points along an energy pathway.
Practitioners say that massaging these points unblocks the pathway, restores normal energy flow and improves the body's natural healing powers.
Reflexology may aid relaxation, relieve stress and promote a feeling of wellbeing. It isn't harmful, but some practitioners won't treat patients with certain medical conditions.
The International Institute of Reflexology
- Telephone: 0114 247 1725
- Website: www.reflexology-uk.co.uk
The Association of Reflexologists
- Telephone: 01823 351010
- Website: www.aor.org.uk
Reiki is a Japanese word that means universal energy. Practitioners believe this energy flows through all living things, and is vital to wellbeing.
For a reiki session you lie down or sit in a comfortable position. You don't need to remove any clothes and the practitioner places his/her hands in a series of positions on or over the body. The theory is that energy flows from the practitioner to the client, who can then use that energy to improve his/her own physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing. Clients may feel sensations such as warmth, coolness, tingling or nothing at all. Normally a series of sessions is recommended.
Reiki may aid relaxation, relieve stress and promote a feeling of calm. Practitioners believe it can stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms and balance the emotions. It is a complementary therapy that can be used alongside conventional treatments. Reiki is a gentle and safe therapy.
For more information contact The UK Reiki Federation
- Telephone: 01264 791 441
- Website: www.reikifed.co.uk
The Limes Therapies offers a range of products that are totally organic, including a range of organic make up and mineral make up.
“The Limes is all about making the most of you, both in the way you look. and ultimately, the way you feel. Unlike many other beauty salons, I pride myself on giving all of my clients unhurried, individual attention and the very best new products and treatments, which deliver optimum results, without resorting to harsh chemicals or even surgery.” (Maria)
For further information please contact: The Limes Therapies Ltd, 8 College Park, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 4AW.
- Tel: 01733 311554
- Website: www.thelimestherapies.com
Good nutrition is an important part of staying as well as possible.
Search our support network to find a professional nutritionist in your local area with Nutriontist Resource.
- Website: www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk
- Tel: 0844 8030 244
Massage is a term used to describe a range of techniques such as touching, stroking, pressing and kneading the surface of the body to promote physical and mental relaxation. There are many different types of massage, some are gentle; others are more vigorous, some are based on traditional techniques and theories - others are modern in their approach. Massage may be applied to the whole body, or to just a part of it.
Massage may relieve tension and pain, and help you to relax. It may help to relieve stress-related problems such as sleeplessness and tension headaches. It may reduce anxiety and help to promote a feeling of wellbeing.
You should check with your doctor before having massage therapy. Massage is not suitable for people with certain medical conditions, and may not be suitable for all cancer patients.
With more than 7,500 listings EmbodyForYou.com is the largest online directory of Complementary Health & Beauty Salons, Clinics, Spas, Health Centres and individual therapists in the UK and Ireland.
They cover the following complementary theraparies: Acupuncture, Alexander Technique, Aqua Detox, Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Medicine, Back Flower Remedies, Bowen Technique, Chiropractice, Colour Therapy, Counselling, Craniosacral Therapy, Crystal Healing, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Feng Shui, Herbalism, Homeopathy, Hopi Ear Candling, Hot Stone Massage Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Iridology, Kinesiology, Naturopathy, Nutritional Advice, Pilates, Radionics, Reflexology, Reiki, Shiatsu, Stress Management, Su Jok Therapy.