Complementary therapies are used in palliative care, both in hospices and the NHS. Dr Ros Taylor explains what they can do to help ease your discomfort and pain.
Therapies and serious illness
Many NHS cancer units and charitable hospices have teams of complementary practitioners offering a range of treatments. Therapies such as aromatherapy, massage, reflexology and acupuncture are used by cancer patients.
Patients are often looking for alternatives
Patients are often looking for alternatives to conventional medicine - treatments that might not cure them, but will help them to relax and cope with the stress of living with serious illness.
Deep relaxation will help many of the symptoms of advanced cancer, such as pain, nausea and breathlessness.
One problem is how to identify a trained practitioner. Speak with the complementary therapy coordinator at your local hospice, a complementary therapy umbrella organisation or a specific organisation dedicated to a particular therapy which appeals to you.