Complementary therapies are supportive therapies that can be used alongside conventional medical cancer treatment.
These therapies aim to improve the general wellbeing and quality of life of people living with cancer and can also help to minimise the side effects of cancer treatment. In 2018 alone, we provided over 1500 free sessions of Complementary Therapy to people affected by cancer across WA.
How might complementary therapies assist me?
- Improve your quality of life and improve your general feeling of wellbeing.
- Alleviate some of the symptoms associated with your cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment.
What types of therapies may be complementary to my medical treatment?
- Mind body techniques: relaxation and meditation, counselling, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, art therapy, music therapy, support groups, spirituality
- Body-based practices: massages, reflexology, reiki, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, qi gong
- Biological based therapies: Naturopathic nutrition, Western herbal medicine, Chinese herbal medicine, Ayurvedic herbal medicine.
Inform your doctor if you are considering taking herbal remedies or supplements as some herbs can interact with chemotherapy or have other side effects.
What complementary therapies are offered by Cancer Council WA?
We offer a range of free complementary therapies to cancer patients and their families.
Program and choice of therapies offered in our Complementary Touch Based Therapy Program is guided by evidence-based best practice and research, and provided by qualified therapists. The therapies offered under our program have demonstrated safety for use with people affected by cancer.
Reflexology: A form of foot and hand massage, based on the belief that certain points on the feet and hands correspond to the body’s internal organs and systems, like a map. The principle of Reflexology is that through pressure on these reflex points, it stimulates the body to work toward better health.
Evidence: Clinical trials have shown that reflexology reduces pain and anxiety and helps improve quality of life, particularly for those receiving palliative care.
Massage: Massage involves moving muscles and rubbing or stroking soft tissues of the body to release both muscular and emotional tension.
Evidence: Many scientific studies have shown that massage can reduce pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and nausea, particularly in patients with cancer who have had chemotherapy and surgery.
Reiki: Reiki is a system involving the laying on of hands, developed in Japan in the early 20th century and is believed to have the capacity to bring balance to the physical, body, mind, emotional and spiritual aspects of an individual.
Evidence: Research has found that the effect of Reiki can be demonstrated through changes to a recipient’s biology after they have received Reiki for 30 minutes. Changes to biological markers suggest that Reiki can contribute to a decrease in anxiety and an increase in relaxation.
Beauty Therapy: Beauty therapy is performed by a qualified beauty therapist and involves treating and taking care of an individual’s hair, face or body to improve appearance and generally look after the face, body or hair.
Evidence: Research indicates that beauty therapy can reduce the impact of cancer on individuals through contributing to assisting with appearance-related concerns and nurturing the individual.