Complementary Therapy and Self Care Hub
We offer a range of complementary therapies, all free of charge, which work alongside conventional medical treatment and aim to support your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, enhancing your quality of life.
We also have some simple tools below that may help to relieve these and enable you to control some of the complications you may be facing.
Complementary therapies can help with the management of physical symptoms such as nausea, pain, insomnia and constipation, whilst also helping to enhance wellbeing and provide much needed relaxation, alleviating emotions such as stress, fear, worry and anxiety.
Therapies are available for patients, families, carers and people who have been bereaved, either on our Inpatient Unit, in a complementary therapy clinic room or in the community.
All complementary therapy practitioners are fully qualified and experienced and can adapt treatments to meet your needs. They will explain each therapy to you and then help you decide which therapy will suit you best.
The therapies available are Acupuncture (only on the Inpatient Unit), Aromatherapy massage, Massage, Indian Head Massage, Gentle Touch, Reflexology, Reiki.
How many complementary therapy sessions can I have?
You can normally have a block of 6 complementary therapy sessions, but this can be extended depending on individual circumstances.
Do I need to get undressed for complementary therapy?
Your dignity will be maintained at all times, however therapists are able to adapt or offer other therapies that allow you to remain dressed.
What if I need to cancel my complementary therapy appointment?
If you need to cancel your complementary therapy appointment, you can do so by either contacting your therapist directly or ring our Inpatient Unit reception on 01305 215300.
What complementary therapies are available?
The complementary therapies that are available will be discussed with you in an initial consultation when we look at your needs and suggest what treatments may be most beneficial.
Core therapies available are:
- Acupuncture (only on the Inpatient Unit)
- Aromatherapy massage
- Indian Head Massage
- Gentle Touch
Where do the complementary therapies take place?
Complementary therapies may take place in the Inpatient Unit in Dorchester, outpatient clinics, or within patient’s own homes, dependent on therapists’ availability.
How can I be referred for complementary therapy?
You can be referred for complementary therapy by any member of the Weldmar team who supports you.
Is this complementary therapy service available to carers?
Yes, complementary therapies are available for patients both in the hospice and the community, their carers and bereaved family members.
We’re expanding our service, and on the lookout for volunteers
We are looking for volunteers with a qualification in aromatherapy, massage, reflexology or Reiki to join our expanding complementary therapy team and provide therapies to patients and their families.
We are particularly keen to hear from therapists who would be confident in offering services in outpatient clinics and for staff wellbeing. It’s an excellent opportunity to develop your skills and expertise within a professional, supportive environment. If you would like to find out more, please contact email@example.com
Self Care Hub
We understand that those we care for, and the people who support them, can experience a wide range of physical and emotional issues. Therefore, we want to give you some simple tools that may help to relieve these and enable you to control some of the complications you may be facing. Everyone is different so see what works best for you, you may even find that some activities will work for a while and then you may need to change it. Whatever you decide on, these easy and enjoyable tools can be safely used alongside any existing medicines or treatment to help alleviate the unique challenges and enhance your quality of life.
Help with Anxiety and Stress
Feelings of anxiety and worry can be common for those with life limiting illness. Being faced with unexpected changes can lead to overwhelm and upset, causing problems with concentration, irritability and being easily distracted. Being stressed can also affect physical symptoms such as feeling tired and tense with difficulty sleeping.
If you are experiencing any of these you might like to try some of the below ideas to see if they help. You can also seek support from our Counselling, Bereavement, and Spiritual Support service, or the Complementary Therapy team.
Self-management of relaxation with hand and foot reflexology
Reflexology is a therapy that uses the feet and hands to treat the whole body. It is based on the principle that areas act as a map with specific points or reflexes, corresponding to systems and organs of the body. Take a look at our simple routines that will help you to relax and release tension. You can try the techniques yourself, or a loved one can do them with you.
Soothing scents: Think about your favourite aromas that help you to relax or connect with a happy memory. This may be a perfume, candle, cup of coffee, walk in the woods or a rose bush. We all have an individual sense of smell and natural aromas are very calming to mind and body. Try to recreate these comforting scents and spend a moment just focusing on the aroma. Settle somewhere comfortable, close your eyes and take some full, steady breaths. You could even make your own portable version of your best scent, so you can benefit wherever you are.
Some essential oils you may find useful to promote relaxation are woody scents such as cedarwood, sandalwood and petitgrain. Floral oils like geranium, rose and rosewood can be very calming, whilst lavender and chamomile oils can aid restful sleep. Uplifting citrus oils of lemon and orange can alleviate fatigue. 5 drops are best used in a diffuser, so follow the instructions and never use neat on the skin.
Download our information leaflets:
Difficulty with breathing can feel worrying, causing further tension, which can make catching your breath more difficult. It’s best to try and stay calm.
Here are a few simple ideas that may be able to help you to find ease and comfort
Keeping track of when you are breathless is a good idea, then you can try to prioritise what you would like to do and plan ahead. Make life easier for yourself at home by having places to sit whilst taking care of the chores or yourself. Think about items such as a hand-held fan or humidifier. Even sitting near an open window and reducing the room temperature can help. Sitting upright or lying in a raised position with cushion support.
Self-management of breathlessness with hand and foot reflexology
Reflexology is a therapy that uses the hands and feet and hands to treat the whole body. It is based on the principle that areas act as a map with specific points or reflexes, corresponding to systems and organs of the body. Try these easy routines for yourself, or get a loved one to help out.
Download our Information Leaflets:
Pain and Discomfort
We understand that being in pain can feel overwhelming and be caused by illness or distressing thoughts. Everyone’s experiences are different, and it can lead to problems with sleeping, eating and increase feelings of isolation and lack of control. Speak to your Weldmar Hospicecare healthcare practitioner and use these measures as and when you need them.
Small and simple ideas
Soothe the body by placing hot water bottles or ice packs on painful areas. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie, with a view of the outdoors if possible. Try distracting yourself with audio books, your favourite film or music. Keep talking to people, whether it’s friends and family or one of our Weldmar Hospicecare Counselling or Spiritual Support services.
The skin is very receptive to touch and our Gentle Touch technique can be very effective in reducing anxiety and pain. It is similar to massage, but done over clothing and bedding with a much lighter pressure and significantly slower pace. You can do parts of it yourself or get a loved one to help and offer a moment of comfort and calm.
Download our Information Leaflets:
If you have difficulties getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking early it can affect many aspects of your life. Without quality sleep you may be exhausted the following day and find it more difficult to focus and deal with things. Sometimes, an illness can impact on sleep, which can then lead to more complications and further sleep problems. This cycle can be broken by using a few practical ideas throughout the day and before bed.
Have a regular time to get out of bed in the morning and avoid napping during the day if possible. What you eat and drink is important, so try not to have a large meal late at night and replace caffeine drinks with calming ones after 5pm. Come away from screens at least 2 hours before bed and try reading or audio books instead. Make the sleeping area inviting and create a comfortable nest as the bed using soft blankets and low lighting; try purple or magenta colours to calm the mind.
Soaking and scents
Warm water is very effective to relax muscles and relieve a busy mind. A 20-minute soak in a bath or foot bath (a washing up bowl is ideal) can help set you up for a good nights sleep. The addition of Epsom salts and scents will increase the benefits. Sedative essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and mandarin will help, or earthy aromas such as vetiver, sandalwood or ylang ylang. Never add the oils neat to the water, always dilute 5 drops in a table spoon of vegetable oil and perform a 48 hour skin test first.
The power of touch can calm the mind and provide a sense of relaxation and peace that will help to ease physical and emotional upset. The use of gentle pressure and restful rhythms can bring about deep relaxation and encourage quality sleep. Having low lighting, soothing scents and calming music can help add to the treat. You can do parts of these simple hand and foot routines yourself or get a loved one to assist you. Try them before bedtime and use your own cream, oil or massage wax.
Download our Information Leaflets:
Feeling sick can be very tiring and unpleasant, especially if it lasts for some time or comes on unexpectedly. It can be debilitating as it may prevent you from eating, sleeping and socialising with others. There are many reason why you may be nauseous, so talk to your Weldmar Hospicecare healthcare practitioner and try one or more of these tips.
Ensure you wear loose clothing and use a hand fan or open a window to enjoy fresh air. Placing a small cool, wet towel on the forehead, wrists and neck can bring relief. Avoid strong aromas in the environment such as synthetic air fresheners and candles. Other people’s perfumes or aftershave can also be off-putting. Try some distractions such as music, meditation or breathing exercises.
Food and drink
Avoid cooking food with strong scents such as spicy or greasy food. Eating small meals more often may help throughout the day, and serve cold or at room temperature to reduce odours. Try snacking on dry toast, crackers and biscuits, or salty nuts and crisps. Introduce ginger or peppermint with ginger ale, ginger biscuits, mint sweets or tea.
Fresh smelling scents are best to help cut through feelings of nausea. Citrus smells such as lemon, grapefruit and ginger can be beneficial. As well as minty aromas of peppermint or spearmint. Avoid the use of synthetic products, and try some essential oils instead. A couple of drops can be simply placed onto a tissue, which can be discarded once the smell has declined after a few hours.
Experiencing constipation can leave you feeling physically uncomfortable and upset. The symptoms of constipation are different for everyone and other factors can affect it like what you eat and drink, and how much you move about. It’s important not to feel embarrassed and talk to your Weldmar Hospicecare healthcare practitioner alongside these practical ideas.
Gentle activity can help to maintain good bowel movements, even a short walk after meals can be valuable. Having fluids throughout the day will help, drinking is important and liven up water with fruit juices and teas. Regular meals made with plenty of liquid, such as soup and porridge will help, as well as refreshing fruit and vegetables.
Placing a hot water bottle onto the tummy area can be comforting and encourage bowel movement. You can administer gentle massage over the abdomen area to stimulate movement, but ensure you follow a clockwise circular motion and do not press hard.
Carers and family members
Everyone benefits from restoration and relaxation to make sure we can continue to look after those we care for. Taking time out for yourself is essential to make sure you stay happy and healthy, and it can take as little as five minutes. Think about what makes you feel calm and allows you to breathe easy.
Talking to others can help to share how things are, whether they are going well or not. Chatting to a friend or neighbour can give you a lift and prevent you from experiencing loneliness and ongoing worry. You may also like to consider seeking support from our Counselling, Bereavement, and Spiritual Support services if your loved one is cared for by us. It’s natural to become focused on the person you care for, but try to remember your interests and hobbies. Keep in touch with any groups you may be involved in or consider joining some online carers groups. Take a look at our carers support to see if we can offer you further ideas.
Yoga for mind and body
Yoga postures combined with deep breathing can increase flexibility in your joints and muscles helping to ease tension and physical strain. It can also relax your mind, enabling you to feel more calm and clear. The seated yoga postures can be practiced as often as you wish, particularly when you start to feel overwhelmed or experience discomfort anywhere in your body. This simple 15 minute routine aims to increase your strength and vitality, so please take a seat and enjoy.