Complementary Therapies can be a valuable aid to relaxation and help promote physical and emotional well-being.
The support at The Bracken Trust is complementary. This means it can be undertaken alongside medical intervention. We do however recommend any therapies undertaken are discussed with your oncologist or specialist nurse before they are commenced.
The Centre has four purpose designed therapy rooms and patients and carers and the bereaved are offered free sessions by appointment. They can discuss with the nurse and therapists the therapy most beneficial in relation to their condition.
Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing originating from China. Nowadays Acupuncture is widely recognised for its powerful effects in helping to alleviate the symptoms of disease; this is true of serious as well as chronic illness, making Acupuncture an important instrument in the care of cancer. – Regular treatments may diminish the adverse side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy – Acupuncture may help patients recover more quickly and fully from surgery and post-operative effects – Acupuncture is well-known for pain relief, easing acute pain as well as dull, long-term discomfort – Perhaps less well-known is its’ ability to balance, strengthen and harmonise the inner person, enabling them to cope better with what is happening to them.
Bowen Technique is straight forward remedial therapy that is non-intrusive, gentle and very effective. The treatment takes about 45 minutes and the work is performed through light clothing. The therapist’s thumbs and fingers on precise parts of the body make rolling movements which aim to disturb the muscles, soft tissue and energy within the body. It promotes healing, pain relief and recovery of energy. To receive maximum benefit it is recommended that other physical therapies e.g. Massage, Reflexology, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture are not mixed with the Bowen Technique.
Hot Stones Massage
Hot Stones Massage is a speciality massage that uses smooth, heated stones. They are often basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well. It is a deeply soothing and relaxing form of massage. the warm basalt stones relax muscle tissue, ease tension and induce a state of calm. The stones will gently exfoliate the skin leaving it soft and smooth.
Indian Head Massage
Indian Head Massage uses a combination of techniques to manipulate the soft tissues in the shoulder and scalp area. Different pressures are used to give a number of benefits, particularly addressing the effects of stress. Benefits include the aiding of the nervous system and the muscular and circulatory systems, and the stimulation of arterial circulation and venous and lymphatic flow. It also includes a feeling of well-being, frees knots of muscular tension and relaxes connective tissues. It stimulates the skin and underlying nerve endings and aids in the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products. This relaxing massage can be given in conjunction with Reflexology.
Lymphoedema is a condition which may affect some people who have had treatment for cancer. Because lymph nodes may have been removed or affected by radiation the lymph is unable to drain adequately from the tissues and may cause a degree of swelling. The therapist will monitor and evaluate swelling, treat it with lymphatic drainage massage and also teach the patients self help techniques which include self-massage and drainage. Benefits include the aiding of the nervous system and the muscular and circulatory systems, and the stimulation of arterial circulation. This service is provided at The Trust by Powys Teaching Health Board, this can be arranged by the Bracken Trust nursing staff.
Massage / Aromatherapy
Massage Aromatherapy is based on the use of natural essential oils extracted from herbs. flowers and trees. These oils work on the emotional as well as the physical level. Each oil contains different constituents; some stimulate, while others calm and relax the body systems. The therapist selects oils which are suited to the patient’s needs and administers them usually via carrier oil, which is then massaged into the body. Massage itself is essentially manipulation of the soft tissues of the body – muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage works both by directly affecting the muscles, ligaments and tendons and by creating a reflex response in other parts of the body due to affecting nerve pathways or channels of energy called meridians. Massage can help cancer sufferers by easing symptoms such as pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and physical and emotional tension. The length and intensity of the massage will vary according to the patient’s needs.
The ‘M’ Technique
The ‘M’ Technique is a registered method of touch – a series of stroking movements performed in a set sequence and at a set pressure. The ‘M’ Technique is gentle, soothing and almost hypnotic. It is different from conventional massage in that the structure and pressure does not change throughout the treatment. The ‘M’ is aimed at people who are too fragile to receive conventional massage – that is, the elderly, those with chronic pain, immediately post-operative or in intensive care, clients with high blood pressure or breathlessness and those with fibromyalgia who find conventional massage too painful.
Reiki is a system based on Buddhist and Sanskrit teachings and the word “Reiki” means “spiritually guided life force energy”. The therapists hands are placed on the client’s body in a series of positions, working usually, but not always, from head to foot and remaining longer on or near sites where extra therapy is needed. Reiki energy flows as soon as the Therapist intends it to do so. In the case of people with Cancer, it may alleviate pain, anxiety and depression and help generate a feeling of well being. Those attending should wear loose, comfortable clothing and ensure that time spent after the treatment is restful and quiet.
Reflexology (also known as Reflex Zone Therapy) is an holistic healing method that involves pressure and massage of the reflex points on the feet and hands. It teaches that life force circulates throughout the body and that if this is blocked, it can cause imbalance. These blockages can be detected and dissipated by pressure and massage techniques, which may encourage the release of toxins. For people suffering with breast cancer, Reflexology may help alleviate pain, anxiety and depression, hot flushes, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, as well as helping tissue healing.