Reflexology and cancer care

Reflexology supporting your through your cancer journey

woman sleeping (dreamstime22784701)Being diagnosed with cancer can be a completely life-changing experience. Suddenly everything feels very up in the air, as the shock of being diagnosed sinks in, followed by the reality of the medical procedures, not to mention all the upheaval of normal daily routines.

Reflexology is a wonder antidote to all this stress and upheaval. It is a truly calming and relaxing treatment that can give you the time and space to effectively deal with your current situation. Reflexology is lovely to receive and can be beneficial wherever you are in your cancer journey – right from the first diagnosis, through operations and chemotherapy/radiotherapy to recovery and beyond.

Many cancer centres and hospices acknowledge how beneficial reflexology can be, so you may already have had the chance to experience this treatment for yourself.

Will reflexology be suitable for me?

reflex feet (dreamstime_m_19698853)Generally yes! It is a gentle and calming treatment and there is almost always something that we can do to help in the most difficult of situations. I work with both adults and children with cancer, as I have seen for myself how much reflexology can help the youngest through to the oldest cope with their treatments and symptoms. Sometimes this requires shorter treatments of around 20-35 minutes compared to a standard treatment of around an hour.

It can also involve timing the treatments around chemo or radiotherapy cycles. In all cases my aim is to provide truly nurturing and relaxing treatments to those with cancer.

Reflexology and cancer care

As Reflexologists we would never claim that the treatment is going to cure the cancer or heal the body. However, we do know that it can help the body and mind to relax and unwind and this seems to help people feel better able to cope with symptoms and side effects, as well as with the stress and anxiety associated with having cancer. See more about the general benefits of Reflexology here. Treatments can be tailored to help you cope with side-effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, constipation and exhaustion. You will also have the opportunity to learn self-help techniques that can be used between sessions.

Click here to hear from people who have experienced having reflexology while living with cancer.

What does a treatment involve?

spa feetEvery treatment starts with a consultation. This is an opportunity for you to unload and share your feelings and concerns in a supportive and caring environment. At your first session, there is a comprehensive health consultation in which we go into your health and lifestyle in detail as well as looking at your specific cancer treatment plan. Then you just need to take off your shoes and socks and relax in a reclining chair. Calming aromatherapy blends and relaxing music help create a soothing atmosphere and there is even a soft fluffy blanket to help you feel cosy and warm. Click here for more information about a typical treatment.

My background and experience working with cancer

One of my very first case studies when I was training to be a reflexologist over 7 years ago was a lady in her 50s with breast cancer. This lovely lady (we shall call her Sally) had already had a mastectomy and was having chemotherapy when she first came to see me. We devised a treatment plan to help her cope with the nausea associated with her chemo, as well as to help her deal with all the stress and anxiety of her diagnosis and treatment. She proved to be an amazing case study, with her feet reflecting exactly how her body was coping – we saw red hot feet on days directly after chemo, followed by paler tired feet at later points in her chemo cycle. Sally found the reflexology helped her feel less tired and nauseous and to feel less anxious. She looked forward to coming and had her last sessions during and after her radiotherapy. She changed her diet and started going for daily walks and 6 months later was very happy to be told she was in remission.

Seeing how the reflexology helped Sally cope with her cancer treatment, as well as gain a lovely sense of wellbeing after each treatment made a profound impression on me. I now have a special interest in helping clients living with cancer and use my scientific background to help understand the medical treatments and advances. I use this knowledge to help each client come up with an individual reflexology treatment plan and self-help strategies to best help them cope with their specific situation.

New self-help techniques

smiley manI have recently attended a workshop with highly respected cancer Nurse and Reflexologist Dr Peter MacKereth. Peter leads a team of Complementary Therapists at The Christie Cancer Centre in Manchester. Based on his years of experience and that of his team of over 35 therapists, Peter has come up with some wonderfully simple and effective self-help techniques for those undergoing cancer treatment. Now I have learnt these techniques (which include help for constipation, peripheral neuropathy, exhaustion and dealing with medical tests), I am now on a mission to pass them on to everyone who could benefit!

Cancer affects so many of us, whether we are diagnosed ourselves or are supporting friends and loved ones. So whether you are considering having some reflexology yourself or if you would like to buy a gift voucher for someone else, please get in touch so that we can discuss your specific situation and requirements in more detail.

With very best wishes