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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Complementary therapies

The complementary therapies offered by the Dorset Cancer Centre act to balance the highly technological and specialist environment of modern healthcare

Complementary therapies aim to encourage the potential of self-healing and empowerment.

Most therapies are offered on an outpatient basis, although the therapists also visit the wards of the Dorset Cancer Centre and Forest Holme.

Patients receiving treatment at the Dorset Cancer Centre are able to access the service free of charge. All patients will be assessed by the therapist before treatment, who will advise on the appropriateness of each therapy. In some circumstances certain therapies are not safe and the therapist will provide guidance to individuals on this.

The cancer centre has a small team of three qualified and registered therapists who provide the following therapies free of charge:


Aromatherapy uses the essential oils of plants. The oils are absorbed through the skin during massage, helping to promote relaxation and a feeling of well-being. Our therapist offers patients a half-hour treatment comprising hand and foot massage.

Indian head massage

Indian head massage is a treatment based on Ayurvedic techniques involving work on the upper back, shoulders, neck, scalp and face. A variety of massage movements are used to relieve accumulated tension, stimulate circulation and restore joint movement. The treatments help to reduce stress and fatigue, improve sleep and relaxation, and release neck and shoulder tension.

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a psychological therapy that may help with the anxiety and stress associated with cancer and its treatment. In particular, it can help with panic attacks, fear of needles and anticipatory nausea.


Reflexology uses pressure applied by the therapists’ hands on reflex points on the feet. The aim of this treatment is to improve the energy flow throughout the body, to release stress and toxins and increase energy levels. Reflexology is available to patients six weeks after completing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

4x4 support classes

These are four classes held over four weeks looking at various complementary therapies that support patients after cancer treatment including nutrition, counselling, relaxation and self help techniques. They are organised in accordance with demand.


Gentle yoga sessions are offered weekly and are especially designed for cancer patients. Prior experience is not essential and patients are supported throughout in a small group.

Other therapies

All the consultants in the Dorset Cancer Centre support the use of the complementary therapies provided in the centre. Patients wishing to use other therapies privately are advised to discuss this with their consultant to ensure that there are no safety concerns.

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