Complementary Therapies

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Our complementary therapy service offers a range of therapies to help alleviate the emotions and symptoms that often accompany the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Patients have reported that some treatments can help with symptoms such as pain, difficulties with sleeping and anxiety.

They are available to patients, and their carers who are inpatients or coming to the Christie for treatment on a daily basis. If you are visiting the hospital as an outpatient (for a first appointment or for follow-up), unfortunately you are not eligible for treatment.

These therapies are designed to complement your medical care - and don't replace your treatment.

The therapies we offer, all free of charge, include:

Our physiotherapy team also provide

  • Acupuncture
  • Lymphoedema Massage

To find out more, ask staff in the Rehabilitation Unit for a leaflet on these services.

Best practice award and research

Our complementary therapy service was awarded the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health 'Best Practice' Award in 2003. 

In addition to providing treatments to patients, a key part of our work is to evaluate the many and diverse benefits of complementary therapies through research


We can provide massage treatments tailored to your preference. These can involve work on the hands, feet, back, neck and face. It can be provided in a chair, massage couch or if necessary at the bedside. You do not have to undress.

On the ward, sessions will be limited to around 15-25 minutes, at a time when it will not disturb any other care you might be having, or mealtimes.

If you can attend our rehabilitation unit, appointments will be for 30 minutes. Please allow 10 minutes to rest before leaving the unit.


These treatments use carefully selected essential oils to supplement gentle massage. At present this is available only in our Haematology and Transplant Unit.

Relaxation techniques

Our relaxation sessions involve the use of guided imagery, visualisation and gentle breathing techniques.

Snoezelen room

This is a specially designed relaxation room located in our Young Oncology Unit. You can rest on giant cushions, listen to music and receive massage surrounded by an array of beautiful lights and bubble tubes. At present this is available only to patients and families on the Young Oncology Unit.

For more information

If you would like to know more about complementary therapies please contact:

  • Peter Mackereth, complementary therapy co-ordinator on telephone 0161 446 8236
  • For further information and advice you can contact your local Macmillan nurse or GP.
  • It may also be useful to contact a local hospice or cancer care centre about their services.

Below are examples of complementary therapy providers in Manchester and Stockport:

  • Beechwood Cancer Care Centre, Chelford Grove, Stockport 0161 476 0384
  • Francis House Children's Hospice, Parrswood Rd, East Didsbury, Manchester 0161 434 4118
  • Neil Cliffe Cancer Care Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital 0161 291 2912
  • St Ann's Hospice Heald Green, Cheadle, Cheshire 0161 437 8136
  • Trafford Macmillan Care Centre, Moorside Rd, Davyhulme, Manchester 0161 746 2080

For information about services nationwide please contact Cancerbackup Freephone 0808 800 1234.

Supporting our complementary therapy service

This service is not funded by the NHS and so far we have been self-funded through running training courses, fundraising events and donations. If you feel you might like to help the unit in raising much needed funds please contact Peter Mackereth or Joanne Barber on 0161 446 8236

Smoking Cessation Services

The complementary therapy team also provide advice and treatments sessions, which can include hypnotherapy, reflexology, aromatherapy and relaxation techniques, to help patients, visitors and staff to stop smoking and remain smoke free. These therapies can be used alone or combined with auricular acupuncture.

For more information contact our "smoking cessation" team -