Patients with myeloma, lymphoma and other types of blood cancers can receive therapeutic massage and reflexology thanks to a post part-funded through Nottingham Hospitals Charity.
Complementary therapist Melissa Tyers provides hand and foot reflexology for patients which helps alleviate the distressing side-effects of chemotherapy. She also offers back, neck and shoulder massage as well as Indian Head massage.
Melissa, who has been working part-time at the hospital since 2015, is now – thanks to £47,500 from Nottingham Hospitals Charity – able to offer her services to patients five days a week.
Melissa says: “Massage and reflexology can have significant benefits for cancer patients when offered alongside clinical treatments. As well as helping patients relax and deal with the effects of treatments like chemotherapy, there is new evidence that massage can reduce pain associated with cancer.
Melissa is one of a team of complementary therapists based at the Hayward House specialist palliative care unit at Nottingham City Hospital. In addition to part-funding Melissa’s post the Charity has provided £193,000 for four therapists over two years.
Melissa and her colleagues treat patients in a custom-built treatment suite at the unit as well as offering treatments on wards. Carers can also book in for treatments as can staff.
Judith Postings, a patient with myeloma who had reflexology with Melissa after her stem cell transplant to help with pain in her feet says: “When you are being treated for myeloma, as with any life threatening illness, you feel as if you are caught up in a system of appointments and treatment. Because of this, you don’t feel in control. Reflexology gives you back control, it relaxes you, feeds your soul and it definitely helped with the pain. Going into the treatment suite at Hayward House feels like going to a salon to be pampered. You come out feeling refreshed and revived and it gives you the inner peace to carry on with your treatment.
“Some people are sceptical about reflexology when they start treatment, but afterwards they can’t believe how much better they feel and how much more in control they are about the situation. Melissa is excellent, very calm, kind and reassuring. I am so glad that the funding from Nottingham Hospitals Charity means she can now work full time at the hospital and therefore she will be able to carry on this excellent work.”
Dr Fran Wadelin, Consultant Haematologist at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust says: “I’m delighted that more patients can now benefit from these treatments thanks to support from Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Massage and reflexology can be beneficial in helping patients relax and handle stress associated with their conditions and their treatment. Melissa has had a significantly positive effect on our patients’ journey and is a valued member of our team”
Massage therapies are part of a raft of complementary activities funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity along with arts based therapies and musicians.