Sinéad Cleary, reflexologist at Mid West Physiotherapy, Limerick, specialises in the area of reflexology in cancer care. As a experienced reflexologist and general nurse, Sinéad combines her medical expertise and clinical experience to deliver high-quality, evidence-based treatments.
Sinéad has a keen interest in the research behind reflexology in cancer care, and has put together this Q&A covering the most common queries:
Why do clients use Reflexology in Cancer Care?
It is crucial to understand that reflexology is used to complement conventional treatments in cancer care rather than instead of it. While there have been many advances in the treatment of cancer over the last number of years through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, there has also been an increased emphasis on treating the individual on a “holistic level”. This holistic approach enables the person to be treated in body, mind and spirit. Also, research shows that people are now far more educated when it comes to a cancer diagnosis and encouraging “self responsibility” for health is something that individuals like as it provides a sense of self involvement in their care.
What are the potential benefits for individuals with cancer?
There are many benefits including physical, emotional and spiritual benefits for someone with a cancer diagnosis.
Can reflexology cause the spread of metastases?
There is no evidence to suggest the reflexology causes the spread of secondaries. Reflexology is a more gentle therapy than massage and it does not directly work over the site of the tumour. Reflexology is a very safe treatment which involves working over reflexes instead.
Can I have reflexology if I am receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy?
There is no evidence to suggest that reflexology can have any adverse effects on an individual undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy when given by an experienced, trained therapist. In fact, there is some evidence and research showing that reflexology can help alleviate some of the physical side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy such as nausea & vomiting and lethargy.
Who shouldn’t have reflexology?
Individuals with cancer should only attend reflexologists who are trained and experienced in treating those with cancer. The reason for this is the therapist may be required to avoid certain reflexes on the feet or may be required to use a very gentle pressure to avoid over stimulation. A thorough history will always be taken and it is advisable to gain your GP’s permission prior to treatment.
Can I claim back the cost of reflexology treatment?
Some health insurers provide cover for reflexology treatments. The level of cover depends on your policy. It’s advisable to check this with your provider in advance. You will receive a receipt at the end of each reflexology session which you can submit with your claim.
- Cancer Research UK
- Together Against Cancer UK
- National Centre for Complementary & Alternative Medicine
- [Book] “Touching – The Human Significance of the Skin” by Ashley Montagu
- [Book] “National Guidelines for use of Complementary Therapies in Supportive and Palliative Care” by Marianne Tavares
- [Book] “Core Curriculum for Reflexology in the UK: The Reflexology Forum” by Clive S. O’ Hara
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