Reflexology can be a very supportive treatment and is a well used complementary therapy among many people with cancer. Increasingly, hospitals, hospices and cancer centres are offering reflexology to patients to help promote relaxation and an overall sense of well being.
Reflexology is not a cure for cancer but research is looking at ways in which it may help with symptoms such as pain, sickness, anxiety and fatigue.
Along with other complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, reflexology may help to provide a positive focus away from the stress associated with diagnosis. These therapies can support patients and carers through all stages of their cancer journey. Diagnosis and subsequent treatment can bring on many emotions and symptoms - including stress, depression, fear, worry, and anxiety induced nausea. During or after chemotherapy or radiotherapy, it is suggested that reflexology may relieve some of the distressing effects of the treatment. It may help to ease anxiety before and after the trauma of surgery. The treatment may also help to relieve discomfort.
The adaptability of reflexology means that it can be offered in most palliative care situations whether in hospital, in a hospice or at home.
Since qualifying I have attended courses in palliative and supportive care and undertaken further training at Penny Brohn Cancer Care (formerly the Bristol Cancer Care Centre).
I will be continuing my professional development training by studying 'Adapting Reflexology for Hospice and Cancer care' at The Christie NHS trust in November
Through the work that I have done I now believe that reflexology can have an invaluably supportive role in the treatment of cancer.