We caught up with our very own Podiatrist and Complementary Therapist, Laura Ross, to find out more about what reflexology is and how this therapy can help cancer patients.
My role as a Podiatrist and Complementary Therapist involves me working both in the Wellbeing Centre and in the wards within The Beatson. I also work in two of our satellite locations, the New Victoria Hospital and The Lanarkshire Beatson.
I am able to offer podiatry, reflexology and reiki to patients and their families within these locations. I try my best to always create a calming and tranquil environment (which can sometimes prove challenging on a busy ward) to allow patients to have a positive and relaxing experience.
Complementary therapies have become increasingly popular as a means of relieving stress. The holistic approach aims to ease the emotional, mental and physical effects cancer may have on patients and their families, friends and carers.
Reflexology has been used for many centuries. It is originally thought to have been developed by the ancient Egyptians.
It is a holistic, non - intrusive therapy based on the principle that there are areas and points on the feet and hands that map via the nervous system to corresponding areas of the body. The left side of your body is represented on your left foot and the right side of your body on your right foot. For example, your left big toe represents the left side of your head, and the point around the ball of your right foot represents your right lung. When pressure is applied to these areas and points, it stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels releasing the body’s natural healing powers and helps to restore balance in the body.
A sharp or tender feeling (or what reflexologists sometimes describe as a crunchy sensation) can indicate that an area of the body is out of balance. Therapists believe that illness can occur when energy pathways are blocked, and subsequent unblocking can restore energy and balance.
After a treatment your tension may be reduced and you may feel more relaxed. You may also notice yourself sleeping better and find your mood and sense of wellbeing improving. Other benefits of reflexology include its ability to stimulate nerve function, increase energy, boost circulation, and eliminate toxins.
A cancer diagnosis can be a traumatic and life changing event, not just for the patient, but also their family. There is no scientific evidence to support the use of reflexology as a treatment for cancer. However it can help to alleviate aches and pains as well as reduce stress, anxiety, and aid relaxation. It aims to ease the emotional, mental and physical effects cancer may have on patients and their families.
I enjoy many aspects of working for the Beatson Cancer Charity. I feel very honoured to be able to provide help, comfort and support to patients and their families who are going through what can be a very difficult and challenging time. I also love the variety of people I meet in my job. I can honestly say hand on heart that I look forward to coming into work each day and working within such a close, supportive team.
Beatson Cancer Charity provide a comprehensive range of wellbeing, specialist and complementary therapy services delivered by charity staff and volunteers through the unique and award-winning Wellbeing Centre and related facilities across the West of Scotland.