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Rosalyn -
Complementary Therapy volunteer

I became a volunteer Complementary Therapist with Macmillan Palliative Care Service seven years ago.

The team covers a wide geographical area and make visits to people in their own homes offering end of life care to people with diagnoses of cancer, motor neurone disease, pulmonary fibrosis and similar life-limiting conditions.

I love home visiting for the opportunity it gives to tailor my treatments very specifically as I build up a rapport with the patients and their carers.

I offer a variety of Massage and Aromatherapy techniques adapted for the person's medical needs. Pressures are very light and soothing, aiming at relation for the whole body and mind.

Treatment provides the comfort of touch, helps people to feel supported, and can help to manage symptoms of fatigue, breathlessness, nausea and pain. Essential oils (EOs) can be used to make sniff sticks (similar to nasal spray) to aid with the management of anxiety. Some EOs are relaxing such as neroli, lavender and some are more uplifting such as citrus aromas or rosemary. Patients are taught how to use EOs and the amounts required, adapting these to the person's specific medical situation.

I devise a treatment plan for the visit with the patient. This will usually involve a variety of approaches, perhaps a gentle foot massage or a scalp massage. I try to help the person use and extend relation techniques they have found useful in life. For newcomers to relaxation, I help them to 'savour' the benefits in the session and then encourage them to take 'time out' of just a few minutes a day to relax the shoulders and breathe slightly more deeply. With pain, surgery and fear we all hold onto many muscles and any method to help ease these muscles can aid relaxation and improve well-being letting go of some tensions.

At the end of the session, I often tiptoe out leaving the person relaxing in their chair/ bed. Success!