Cancer patients can benefit from complementary therapies at Blackpool Victoria

Janet Porter is a complementary therapist who has been practicing for 32 years.

A former beauty therapist who turned to holistic therapies, Janet owned her own therapy business in Garstang before being approached to help Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s cancer patients eight years ago.

Janet offers her clients six treatments, roughly within a six month period. They can choose from reflexology – a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet correspond with different area of the body, aromatherapy – the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being which is usually combined with massage, and breathing techniques which is a good way to reduce tension, feel relaxed, and reduce stress.

Complementary therapies are generally used alongside, or in addition to, conventional medical treatments. Complementary therapists don’t claim they can treat or cure cancer. People generally use complementary therapies to boost their physical or emotional health. Sometimes they may be used to relieve symptoms or the side effects of conventional medical treatments.

Funded by the Rosemere Cancer Foundations and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s charity, Blue Skies Hospital’s Fund, patients can be referred to Janet through their Consultant, Psychotherapist or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Recently, Janet has started to audit feedback from the patients using the service and is thrilled with the positive affects her therapies are having. She said: “I’m so touched by our patient feedback.

“There really is no need to face cancer alone. Often my clients open up to the issues affecting them which helps them to feel better too. I can also suggest other services through these conversations if I feel it is necessary.

The therapies certainly have psychological and physical benefits. We want patients to feel nurtured and supported. I have personal experience of the effects of cancer and this drives me to do my best for others in the same situation.”

One patient wrote of their feedback form: ‘Cancer and the treatments of cancer is a life-changing experience and coping with it is something that requires ongoing help. Being taught how to help yourself is so valuable, the reflexology is so helpful in freeing the mind from worry and anxiety.’

Doctors don’t usually have a problem with their patients using complementary therapies, but some therapies may not be suitable if you have a particular cancer or are having certain treatments which an individual’s medical team will be able to advise.

Blackpool Victoria’s Macmillan Cancer Care Co-ordinator, Kerrie Newsham, said: “I’m so glad that we can offer this unique complementary therapy service for our patients, which gets such fantastic feedback.”

More further information, please call the Macmillan Information Centre on 01253 955710

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