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The complementary health and wellbeing service at The Christie can be an integral part of a patient’s cancer journey.

Integrative therapies – including complementary therapies – can help patients with the stress of cancer treatment or help manage treatment side effects, such as sickness.

You can help us bring this important service to more cancer patients across the North West with a donation today.

Complementary therapies and cancer treatment

We have recently opened The Christie at Macclesfield as part of our vision to bring cancer care closer to home. You can now help patients to benefit from the complementary health and wellbeing service at all our Christie centres – Withington, Oldham, Salford and Macclesfield.

These are patients like Phil Gledhill, who was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer last year. Phil not only needed emergency chemotherapy, but also extra help with the physical and emotional side effects of treatment. Read Phil’s story to see how complementary therapies helped him get through his cancer treatment.

Patients can need support with a cancer diagnosis, to manage treatment side-effects and stress and sometimes to deal with longer-term issues. For example, some cancer patients can struggle with peripheral neuropathy – pins and needles, numbness or pain in their extremities due to nerve damage as a result of their treatment or their cancer.

Acupuncture is a powerful tool in these situations, as it helps block the pain messages that are sent to the brain and can actually ease symptoms. Your donation could help pay for a course of acupuncture sessions and may facilitate the continuation of cancer treatment.

The complementary health and wellbeing service at The Christie is funded entirely by charitable donations. Please donate today and help us to offer complementary therapies to even more patients throughout their treatment.

Our complementary health and wellbeing service treatments

A cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause a range of emotions and side effects, including stress, depression, anxiety, nausea and pain. Our complementary health and wellbeing service is here to support patients, as well as staff and carers.

Your donation can help make sure more cancer patients benefit from these services – see the full range of complementary therapies offered at The Christie below.

Our CALM therapists can attend a procedure alongside a patient or teach them techniques that they can use on themselves beforehand. Clinical evaluations have shown that touch therapy, particularly reflexology, can help to calm patients struggling with needle anxiety, MRI scans, CT scans, line insertions or difficult procedures, such as radiation therapy.

Acupuncture involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles. This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. The effects of acupuncture have been widely researched. The biggest UK trial on cancer patients was conducted by Dr Jacqui Stringer of The Christie on patients suffering with neuropathy and showed that acupuncture can help to relieve symptoms.

Hypnotherapy sessions are available to patients or staff who are anxious, stressed, worried, depressed or are finding it difficult to cope emotionally.

Evidence suggests that hypnosis can help treat symptoms of nausea in breast cancer patients, manage pain in a variety of contexts, and reduce levels of anxiety and overall distress around surgical and medical procedures, both in children and adults.

Massage techniques can help to relieve pain and stimulate the blood flow, whilst several essential oils have healing and antiseptic properties.

Pilot studies show that aromatherapy can help with general wellbeing, anxiety and some side effects of cancer treatment. Patients with tumour-related fungating wounds gain relief from essential oil-based products.

Chair massage – we use an ergonomically designed chair to deliver massage in a comfortable and supportive position.

HEARTS massage – a light-touch massage combined with aromatherapy, sound and relaxation techniques to help patients who are in pain, anxious or unable to sleep.

Adapted foot massage – adapted massage with optional use of gentle pressure on specific areas of the feet. Aids relaxation, anxiety reduction and help with discomfort.

Relaxation, visualisation and stress management – Imaging and gentle physical movements combined with focussed breathing techniques to promote a state of calm.

Health advice – tailored and treatment specific health advice and support for smoking cessation and reducing alcohol consumption.