Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies can give you comfort and help you feel more relaxed after treatment and diagnosis. They aim to encourage the potential of self-healing and empowerment. There is no evidence they will cure your cancer, but they can be used alongside treatment recommended by your consultant. You should discuss complementary therapies you are having with your doctor or specialist nurse.

They are not the same as alternative therapies, which are used instead of conventional treatments.

If you are currently receiving treatment at the Dorset Cancer Centre in Poole, the following therapies are available for you to try:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • Indian Head Massage
  • Reiki
  • Acupuncture
  • Clinical Hypnotherapy
  • Chakra Balancing
  • Yoga

You can read more about each of these treatments further down this page.

If you are being treated at University Hospitals Dorset for any type of cancer, you can self-refer to the Complementary Therapies team at any stage of your treatment process.

The team may be able to visit you in the Dorset Cancer Centre and offer treatments while you have chemotherapy, or if you are an inpatient on a ward.

We also have a treatment room based upstairs at Forest Holme Hospice which you could visit for an outpatient appointment.

This service is kindly funded by University Hospitals Dorset, Forest Holme Hospice Charity and also Sam Buxton Sunflower Trust.

You can either call the team on 03000 198 268, or email leaving your name and contact details. We will try to get back to you within 1 working day.


Aromatherapy is a branch of complementary medicine, which uses the essential oils of plants. These concentrated essences are extracted from various parts of the plants, i.e. the leaves, roots, flowers and bark and have been valued throughout history for their therapeutic properties. The oils are absorbed through the skin, helping to promote relaxation and a feeling of well-being.

Our therapists offer patients treatment comprising of a hand a foot massage. We also offer patients inhaler sticks for home use to assist with side effects.

Aromatherapy may help ease some of the side effects of your treatment such as:

  • Vein pain
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Hot flushes


Medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles and can be used to treat a wide range of health conditions. This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It’s likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture. A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used.

Chakra Balancing

Chakras are the concentrated energy centres of the body. Chakra Balancing is a form of energy healing that focuses on channelling energy around the chakra points to improve our physical and emotional wellbeing.


Reflexology is a form of acupuncture. Pressure is applied by the therapist’s hands on reflex points on the patient’s feet. The aim of this treatment is to improve the energy flow throughout the body, to release stress and toxins to increase energy levels. Reflexology is available for patients during and after chemotherapy.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

EFT is like a psychological form of acupuncture without needles. It can help patients with pain relief, as well as the stress and anxiety associated with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, in particular panic attacks, needle phobia, anticipatory nausea and a wide range of emotional issues.


Reiki is a type of energy healing. Energy medicine aims to help the flow of energy and remove blocks caused by physical injury or emotional pain in a similar way to acupuncture or acupressure. Reiki practitioners believe that improving the flow of energy around the body can enable relaxation, relieve pain, speed healing, and reduce other symptoms of illness.

Clinical Hypnotherapy

Clinical hypnosis teaches patients to use a deep relaxation state to address issues such as smoking cessation, weight loss, pain relief, or self-improvement. There are different types of hypnotherapy. First, you’ll usually have a talk with your therapist to discuss what you hope to achieve and agree what methods your therapist will use.

Yoga Classes

Gentle yoga classes Monday afternoons especially designed for cancer patients.

To book please email Magda Ricci at or phone 07760 401185

The Complementary Therapy team is led by qualified practitioners in accordance with the Professional Standards Authority and NICE.

It is available free of charge to all patients attending Dorset Cancer Centre wards, Day Care and Forest Holme Hospice.

Follow the links below to read more about complementary therapies

  • Was this helpful ?
Skip to content