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Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies are gentle and relaxing to receive and can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. 

These therapies work alongside medical treatment and are not an alternative to it. They can help to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and tension, ease pain and improve joint mobility.

All therapies are provided by fully qualified therapists who have undergone additional training in adapting complementary therapies for use in a palliative care setting. To enable them to provide safe and effective treatments to those who come to us. 

Our complementary therapies

Indian Head Massage

A seated massage which is done through the clothes without oils.

The aim is to reduce the tensions and stresses of everyday life through massage of the head, neck, shoulders, back and face. 


A physical therapy involving the manipulation of the muscles and soft tissues of the body.

It is proven beneficial in reducing feelings of stress and anxiety, enhancing relaxation and both mental and physical wellbeing.


A person receiving a foot massage on their left food. The complementary therapists hands are visible in the right corner. Overlayed on a burgundy square.

A form of massage that focuses on the soles of the feet (and palms of the hand).

It is based on the idea that different areas of the feet (and hands) are associated with particular parts of the whole body. For example, it has proven beneficial in the treatment of lower back pain. 

The touch is light but firm so it does not tickle and is generally found to be relaxing yet energizing. 

Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD)

Person receiving reflexology lymph drainage. With a nurse in salmon pink scrubs.

An award winning reflexology technique that focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes of the feet. 

Our lymphatic system is the part of our immune system which collects the excess fluid (also known as lymph) that drains from cells and tissues, and recirculates it through the body. It is also produces and releases white blood cells. If it is not working correctly a build up of lymphatic fluid can occur, resulting in swelling, commonly seen in the arms and legs. This is known as lymphoedema.

The aim of this reflexology technique is to encourage the recirculation of this excess fluid and to reduce swelling.


The use of essential oils to offer emotional and psychological support as well as combatting specific physical symptoms. 

For example, chamomile oil may be used to improve mood and aid relaxation. Whilst Peppermint oil can provide relief from nausea and muscle pain.

The aromatherapist will usually use a blend of essential oils chosen specifically for each person based on their medical history and the desired effect or outcome. They can be applied through massage, baths, compresses, inhalations, or creams. 


This is a gentle therapy based on the understanding that our physical body is surrounded by an energy field which can become unbalanced when we are unwell – physically, emotionally or mentally. 

The Reiki practitioner uses simple hands on or non touch techniques to communicate harmonizing energy to the individual. Rebalancing their energy field and helping to ease physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. 

Complementary therapies are available to people living with a serious or terminal illness and those close to them. They are available at our Inpatient Unit at Michael Sobell House and Lansdowne House. If a patient is not well enough to come to the hospice, our therapists can visit them at home.

Matron Carol stands with a woman in a blue sari in our gardens at Lansdowne House

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