Article from Patricia Hunter…C.A.R. board member

Posted by Rosie Plunkett – Saturday, July 13th, 2019

In over 25 years of practising reflexology, it still never ceases to amaze me what the feet can tell about the person sitting in front of us, and the deep relaxation that reflexology brings to the individual.

My first encourter with reflexology was when I was working as a nurse at Beechwood Cancer Care Centre. I had heard a little about it from a nursing colleague, and when the opportunity arose a few months later to undertake a short course with Clive O’Hara, I enrolled on it. This began my introduction to reflexology and later Reiki, massage and aromatherapy.

My area of work has always been in pallative care in both nursing and complementary therapy. The complementary therapies we use in my place of work, are given primarily to aid relaxation, which, in turn can reduce stress, help sleep and give a sense of well-being. The degree of relaxation achieved may be something the person may not have been able to be able to expereince for some time. Whichever treatment we use, the key to working is the ability to be able to adapt treatments to that particular person, at that particular time and in that particular place.

My current post is as Complementary Therapy Lead at Willow Wood Hospice and I have a team of twelve complementary therapists working alongside me qualified in reflexology, reiki, massage and aromatherapy. Since the Hospice opened twenty years ago, we have used complementary therapies for both in-patients and day-services patients, but over the past few years, we have been able to extend the services in which we are ivolved:

  • Dementia services. The Hospice has a dementia drop in cafe, which meets twice a month where those with dementia can attend with a carer for a couple of hours. Over the past year, we have introduced a complementary therapy service for carers to have treatments knowing that the patient is in a safe environment and that they can relax. It is well used and appreicated.
  • Outreach service to Tameside General Hospital MacMillan Unit. This began about eighteen months ago in collaboration with the MacMillan Unit at our local hospital. We not only provide short sessions of complementary herapy, but also use the time to inform potential patients about the supportive services that are available at the Hospice. Orginally starting one morning a week, this has recently expanded to two mornings and has brought people to the Hospice who may not have considered coming to use for help.
  • Staff well-being. We have had three well-being days for staff with different events each time, but a constant part of this is complementary therapy provided by the complementary therapy volunteers and myself. The appointments are booked up quickly and have proved popular.

Complementary therapies including reflexology have been and continue to be an integral part of my pratice. When I am seeing someone for the first time, I often suggest reflexology. This is because it is the only treatment I do that gives the person an opportunity to talk during treatment if they wish or to close their eyes and relax, if that is their choice, or indeed some of both whilst receiving a full body treatment. This is especially useful for putting the person at ease at a time of change and uncertainlt in their lives.

I am grateful to the introduction I had to complementary therapies all those years ago. They have changed my work and career and it is humbling and a privilege to be able to help people in this way.







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