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Complementary Therapy

At St John’s Hospice we care for the whole patient, not just by assisting with their medical and nursing needs but also by providing emotional, psychological and spiritual support. We offer a range of complementary therapies which are open to all of our patients, completely free of charge.


Complementary therapy can help to promote relaxation, sleep and a feeling of well being, as well as temporary relief of some physical symptoms. Treatments are given in the warm, relaxing atmosphere of the Oak Centre therapy room, or on the In-Patient Unit, to a background of gentle music.

Complementary therapy treatments are available to day therapy patients, in-patients, and the carers of patients with chronic conditions.

download our complementary therapy leaflet

Are you a complementary therapist who would like to volunteer some of your time at the hospice? Please call our Volunteer Coordinator on 01524 382538 for more information.


Aromatherapy treatments harness the power of essential plant oils to stimulate or to calm, depending on the oils used. The therapist and client together choose the oils. Aromatherapy can be delivered as a warm and comforting massage or inhaled if this is more suitable, to help reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and relieve anxiety.

Guided Relaxation

Guided Relaxation sessions are now included in many of the group activities within our day therapy services. Relaxation techniques are also offered in one to one sessions by appointment, to help promote general well-being and manage symptoms of anxiety. Click HERE for an audio sample of guided relaxation.

Indian Head Massage

Indian Head Massage is a treatment of the scalp, face, neck, chest, upper back and arms. It can be fairly vigorous or very gentle, depending on the needs of the client. Aromatherapy oils can be used if desired. It aids the body in its elimination process, reducing tense and aching muscles and promoting a feeling of harmony. It can also improve the condition of the scalp, hair, and skin by increasing the circulation.


Reflexology begins with a relaxing foot massage, which is followed by gentle alternating pressure being applied to the whole foot using small movements of the thumb and fingers. It works on the nerve pathways, so bringing about a change in the whole body. It can be adapted to suit the needs of the client, and can be given on the hands if preferred. Reflexology aids the elimination process and helps to relax and balance the body and mind, relieving stress and anxiety.


Reiki assists our physical and emotional energy, which can sometimes be interrupted by factors such as lifestyle, stress and illness. When this happens, our energy-flow needs a little ‘fine-tuning’. A reiki treatment takes place fully clothed, either sitting or lying. The therapist places her hands over the clients’ body in specific positions for a few minutes. Some people feel warmth, coolness or tingling in the area being treated. Reiki can help the client to feel calm, less anxious and more able to cope.

download our reiki therapy leaflet

Therapeutic massage

Therapeutic massage involves gentle and rhythmic touch and stroking movements using nourishing oil to ensure that the massage is smooth. It can take place on a bed, chair or therapy couch, wherever the client is most at ease. If preferred, the massage can take place over clothing. After a massage, the client may feel more relaxed and able to cope with their symptoms and circumstances. Temporary reduction of some symptoms may also take place.

Healthcare professionals can refer their patients to St John’s Hospice Day Therapy Services by completing our REFERRAL FORM.

What patients say about our therapies…

“Thank you very much, you have helped me a lot”

“ I have found these tasters on relaxation extremely helpful with my problem. I would definitely do them again. The group has given me a lot of energy.”

“ I am clearly feeling the benefits of relaxation offered, how taking the time throughout the day to practice breathing is so beneficial to lighten my mood and sense of well –being, The overall sense of RELIEF, in allowing my mind to quieten down has been tremendous.”

“ Thank you very much for the complementary therapy kindly offered to me. I found it very relaxing in every way the staff make you feel very welcome which is nice”

“Enjoyed my therapies and helped me to relax”

“Reiki is very relaxing- Thank you for all the wonderful work you are doing”

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