Complementary therapy

Complementary therapies are alternative treatments that can be provided alongside more conventional procedures. In general, these forms of therapy are designed to help reduce side effects, decrease stress and anxiety, and enhance quality of life. At the Jockey Club Home for Hospice (JCHH), we offer aromatherapy, lymphatic massage therapy and hypnotherapy to our patients.

Let our doctor or case manager know about any complementary therapies you are using or thinking about, as some may not be safe or evidence-based for every patient.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a form of supportive therapy that is frequently used in palliative care due to the low risk of adverse effects and known quality of life benefits. Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils, often applied through massage, for the following purposes:

  • Manage pain and nausea
  • Promote quality sleep at night
  • Reduce anxiety, fear and depressive moods
  • Improve skin quality by preventing tearing and discomfort
  • Improve body circulation

Lymphatic Massage Therapy

Lymphoedema is the swelling of tissue due to fluid retention that is common in advanced diseases and a distressing symptom for patients and carers alike. Lymphoedema is very difficult to manage and even though early interventions have shown to be more effective, it is still a major challenge for many health care professionals. Patients are usually referred to lymphoedema services when swelling becomes too extensive for other preventative measures. We offer lymphatic massage therapy, which aims to:

  • Maintain skin integrity and prevent skin infections
  • Promote activity of the initial lymphatics through exercise
  • Reduce swelling through compression in the form of bandaging or hosiery
  • Direct the fluid to an area of body where the lymphatic system is functioning normally

Hypnotherapy

We offer hypnotherapy, which is defined as a mind-body therapy that involves a deeply relaxed state, individualized mental imagery and therapeutic suggestions. Clinical hypnosis has been used on palliative care patients to reduce symptoms associated with radiation and chemotherapy such as pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes and sleep dysfunction. Patients can also practice self-hypnosis to achieve a relaxed and therapeutic hypnotic state. When used correctly, clinical hypnosis is a safe and highly beneficial form of therapy with very few harmful side effects.

How can I access these services?

If you are interested in using our complementary therapy services, please speak to your JCHH doctor or case manager for further assessment. Please note that your therapist may use a modified treatment regimen depending on your specific needs and physical condition. You are also welcome to try other forms of therapy but we strongly recommend that you let us know beforehand. Keep in mind that not all complementary therapy is safe or based on scientific evidence.

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