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Sandy Lane Health Centre, Westgate, Skelmersdale. Lancs. WN8 8LA

Railway Road Surgery, 11 Railway Road, Ormskirk, Lancs. L39 2DN

Hillside Health Centre, Tanhouse Road, Skelmersdale. Lancs WN8 6DS

North Meols Medical Centre, Church Road, Banks Southport PR9 8ET

Email: Welaccg.beaconprimarycare@nhs.net  Fax: 01695 556144

Surgery Closed? Not an emergency? Not sure what to do?   CALL 111



Telephone: 01695 736000

What is Complementary Therapy?

Complementary therapy is a term used for a diverse group of health-related therapies which are not considered to be a part of mainstream medical care. They are also known as alternative, natural, non-conventional and holistic and can also be known as medicine, e.g complementary medicine.

 Complementary therapies may also be used as preventative health care as many symptoms arise as a result of stress, massage for example helps increase relaxation by releasing endorphins, thereby reducing tension and stress.



Some therapies are considered as whole systems of healing and are seen by practitioners as a replacement to conventional medicine. However, Rethink Mental Illness believes that complementary and alternative therapies can be beneficial for mental illness if used alongside conventional treatments but not replacing them.

Why use complementary therapy for mental Health?

It is widely thought that complementary therapies can provide a sense of relaxation and increased wellbeing which can contribute positively to a person’s mental health.

Furthermore, many complementary therapies involve a more holistic approach of treating the whole person and consider physical, psychological and spiritual needs rather than focussing solely on the symptoms of the illness. Rethink Mental Illness supports a holistic approach to treating people with mental illness.

Therapist usually take up to an hour for consultation. Each therapy session to include , objective and subjective assessment and evaluation, recommended course of action, rehabilitation and recommendation for further treatment, alternative choice of therapy or referral .Sessions usually involve an hour or more for treatment although  half an hour can be therapeutic.

A consultation process includes an information exchange, looking at general health and lifestyle. Any contra- indicators will be considered during the consultation. In some cases a letter from your doctor may be required. This ensures your individual needs are assessed and you are informed of the massage methods and treatment techniques within the treatment strategy.                                                                                            

The consultation includes aftercare advice to maximize the treatment you have  experienced.

Homecare advice and guidance is available with regards activity, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle, including relaxation and mindfulness to restore work/life balance.

It is possible that the steep rise in use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM )may be partly due to the fact that they provide a holistic approach, which means that an initial interview with a therapist can often take an hour or more. Symptoms are not treated in isolation but are placed in the context of a person’s health profile, including their emotional responses. CAM has been described as offering time, personal attention, comfort, reassurance and traditional a ‘sense of wholeness and healing’ (Rankin-Box, 2001).


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Some of the benefits of massage can be:

 improved muscle and skin tone

 better circulation

 Improved sleep

 relief from aches and pains associated with muscle tension, such as headaches

 an increased ability to rid the body of toxins

Some users of complementary therapies in my experience are very diverse with a wide range of needs, clients could include those seeking both physical and emotional healing, for example: people who are ill or recovering from a period of sickness who want to manage stress more effectively and may be suffering with anxiety or depression who want to develop their ability to relax or managing chronic health conditions and enjoy the opportunity to have a space to set aside to be mindful. For some massage is an opportunity for physiological  concerns, treating those recovering from sports injuries such as sprains, torn ligaments and broken limbs, to those recovering from trauma surgery repetitive strain injuries and address posture imbalances and overuse injuries and general aches and pains from general from the stress and strains of everyday life to help restore work/life balance

Patient experience
Many  users in my experience remark on how much of a ‘luxury’ it was for them to receive a massage, and one lady summed up the experience as, ‘It is lovely, I have had so many horrible medical treatments for my cancer, chemo and so on - it is so nice to be treated like a person again.’

 This type of comment underlines the findings of surveys of CAM usage. Clients report feeling more in control. They also feel in more of a ‘partnership’ with their therapist (Cant and Sharma, 1999).

 Indeed, staff a Macmillan unit felt that by offering their time and CAM skills to their patients they were able to develop far better therapeutic relationships with them. However, it is important to clarify with the patients that these sessions are considered as a therapeutic adjunct and are not replacing traditional treatment.

Training in CAM is regulated by the Foundation for Integrated Medicine. FIMED works closely with the Department of Health, the National Association of Primary Care and the NHS Alliance to provide a regulatory body and deal with issues of ethics, training and competency within CAM.

Evidence-based practice

UK legislation is currently working towards CAM therapists also becoming more accountable for their work and to regulate and standardise training and qualifications. Consequently there is an increasing amount of evidence being collated by various CAM practitioners and their governing bodies to support their general use.                                                                                                                             It may be argued that the benefits of alternative therapies such as reflexology and aromatherapy are merely due to the ‘placebo effect’. However, this is a difficult point to address - while you can investigate the placebo effect with medication, for example, you cannot give a placebo massage. Therefore, much research has to rely on more subjective evidence .Also, as more CAM is integrated with nursing care more evidence is being collected from other areas of practice, we have a responsibility to deliver care based on current evidence and validated research  so we have a duty to look at the body of supporting evidence.

 A study reported that combining holistic therapies with high-tech surgery can contribute to an enhanced balance of care (Norred, 2000)as preoperative anxiety is a common and distressing problem for most surgical patients. One study looked at incorporating skilled holistic nursing interventions such as aromatherapy and relaxation techniques to minimise patients’ experience of anxiety before and during surgery. This study reported that combining holistic therapies with high-tech surgery can contribute to an enhanced balance of care (Norred, 2000).

 Touch can be a valuable therapeutic tool to relieve a surgical patient’s anxiety (Lewis, 1999), and there are a number of studies into this area. One study carried out to investigate the use of hand and foot massage in a rural rehabilitation setting showed that the massages helped to increase muscle and joint flexibility and significantly reduced pain and anxiety. Other main themes that emerged from patients’ comments were that aromatherapy massage facilitated communication and allowed emotional release - in the form of crying and talking - and aided relaxation (Dunning and James, 2001).

Implications for practice

As Therapists we aim to ensure that there is research evidence that the therapy is of benefit to the clients.

Each therapy combines touch to pressure points in soft tissue on many levels; As you relax you may be aware of the body’s imbalances and feel motivated to make small changes in lifestyle to achieve healthier outcomes for your wellbeing. Therapies improve muscle tone and joint flexibility, ease aches and pains, tension headaches, stress injury, poor posture or repetitive strain injuries, headaches, aid sleep, circulation and help manage chronic conditions.  

B WELL Complementary Therapy


Half Hour back/neck massage can make
a  difference  £10

Deep Tissue Massage   - full body       £35    

Lava Shell Massage                               £30

Clinical Aromatherapy                            £20

Indian Head Massage                            £15

Reflexology                                              £15

For a Taster Session or any other full price session at

Railway Rd Surgery

 Tel mobile:  07985 143600

9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Rosie Barnwell HDipCT (vctc)