21 August 2013

Tameside Cancer Complementary Therapy, a not for profit social enterprise formed by patients and staff members, will offer employees the chance to relax with reflexology, aromatherapy massage, reiki or Indian head massage.

On Mondays from 2nd September, from 4-6pm, staff can book in for hour-long sessions at The Lodge, off Darnton Road, for a donation of just £20.

If it proves popular it is hoped the service for staff could be extended.

The complementary therapy service for patients began around eight years ago and is used alongside more orthodox treatment. Patients have to be referred by the cancer specialist nurses.

Patricia Cooke, a former nurse at Tameside Hospital and nurse lecturer who retrained in complementary therapy, is one of two therapists who provide the service for staff and patients, said: “I leave it to the patient so I never say this is what I am going to do but we mostly do aromatherapy and massage as there’s quite a good evidence base for those therapies. We have to ensure what we do will work alongside more orthodox treatment.”

She added: “The music is very carefully chosen to create an ambience specific for health needs. The therapies offer benefits emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically – every aspect.”

One patient who has benefitted from the service is Gillian Simpson, 51, of Glossop, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Following chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she had single reconstruction surgery in 2011 and started having complementary therapy soon afterwards.

Gillian, who is married, with three grown-up children and three grandchildren, said: “I think it’s a vital part of people’s recovery and it’s helped me to cope. I really enjoy it and look forward to the session.  I find the massage really relaxing and it takes away all my anxiety and tension. I feel an awful lot better since I have been here. I don’t think I’d have coped with what I have been through without it.”

Gillian added: “The support at Tameside Hospital has been brilliant as I received the best care from the doctors and nurses. But I’m one of the lucky ones as I have had a lot of support from friends and family. Some people don’t have anybody and they would definitely be relying on this.”