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Complementary Therapies

How can Complementary Therapies help?

Many people have found that complementary therapies have been useful in helping to support them during periods of poor health. Complementary Therapies aim to address symptoms of illness and disease and their effects on the physical and emotional aspects of life, through the complete and balanced treatment of the person as a whole. There is a summary of the various types of therapies below.

Why is the Sheffield Centre offering access to Complementary Therapies?

The Cavendish Centre is a long established charitable organisation in Sheffield that has been offering free supportive care to people living with cancer and to their main carer and children. The MND Care Centre is working in partnership with The South Yorkshire Branch of the MND Association and Cavendish Cancer Care, to offer this same form of supportive care, including complementary therapies, to patients with MND and to their main carer and children.

In June 2010 we completed a year long pilot project offering this service to patients with MND and their main carer, within the Sheffield catchment area of the Cavendish Centre. This was in order to gauge the interest in using and possible benefits of complementary therapies for patients with MND and their carer and to determine if they would like to access such a service. The project appears to have shown positive supportive benefits and has been valued by both patients and carers, we are therefore now providing this as an ongoing service. 

How can I access Complementary Therapies?

If you, or the person caring for you, do wish to receive support and complementary therapy services from the staff at Cavendish Cancer Care or would like further information, then please contact the Centre directly to offer the service:


                                              The Cavendish Centre         Tel: 01142784600 


You can either do this yourself or ask a family member to do so on your behalf. You do not need to be referred.

This service is provided free of charge and is funded through the South Yorkshire Branch of the MND Association. It offers an individual assessment of needs and concerns, specialist help and support and a range of Complementary Therapies. Although the service is short term, it is available at times of particular difficulty with a waiting time of no more than a few days for the first appointment. This service is available at the Centre premises and home visits can also be arranged for individuals who live within a 10 mile radius of the Sheffield MND care centre.

Will accessing this service affect the care I receive at Sheffield?

Whether you choose to access this service or not, the care you currently receive will not change. This package of care is offered to patients in addition to and together with, whatever mainstream healthcare treatment they are currently receiving.

More information about the Cavendish Centre can be found at  

Summary of therapies offered by Cavendish Cancer Care 

Complementary therapies aim to restore the natural flow of energy in the body and to promote and support the body’s own natural healing process. You will be asked to give details about your general health and any medication you are taking before a therapy is offered.

The whole session could last from 15mins to up to an hour, depending on how you are feeling, but will be stopped at any time if you feel uncomfortable.

All our practitioners are highly skilled and trained professionals who hold a recognised qualification in their therapies. They are also members of recognised professional bodies and carry personal public liability insurance.

After your treatment.

You may feel very relaxed and sleepy after any of the treatments and if so, it is best to sleep. Others may find they have more energy and want to use it, but you should take care not to do too much! You may find you are thirstier and it is advisable to drink plenty of water or ensure you have more fluids than normal for at least 24 hours after all physical treatments and to avoid any alcohol. Side effects of treatment are very rare, but if you should notice a rash following treatment or have any other concerns please report this to your therapist.

The range of therapies:


Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, sterile needles at carefully chosen parts of the body. Most people do not find the needles painful, although there is a definite sensation. The treatment takes account of the whole person, their mental and emotional problems, as well as physical symptoms and most people who receive acupuncture report not only improvement in specific symptoms, but also in a general sense of well-being. Acupuncture has a well-deserved reputation for treating pain. It can also help with many other physical symptoms.

As well as this it can have a positive effect on mood, so it can be very helpful for people living with depression or anxiety, or who just feel low or worried. 



Aromatherapy involves the use of plant oils, which are always diluted and then generally massaged into your skin.

Aromatherapy may help to relieve feelings of stress and lack of energy or self-esteem, by enabling you to feel relaxed and uplifted. It can also be useful to relieve skin conditions, pains, tension and cramps, as well as helping with sleep and digestive problems. 

Art therapy

Art therapy is an opportunity to explore intense and painful thoughts and feelings that may be difficult to put into words. This is done in a supportive environment using a variety of art materials to make drawings, paintings or sculptures, rather than by conversation. The images you make may be used to communicate personal feelings that may be difficult to put into words.

Our trained art therapist will be on hand to assist you and help you with the whole process. You do not need any artistic skills. 


When we are going through a bad time most of us want somebody to talk to, who will listen and accept us in a non judgemental way. Sometimes it can be easier to talk to a stranger than to relatives or friends. Counsellors are trained to listen attentively to you and to help you try to find your own answers to difficulties or support you to change your behaviour or negative thoughts. 


This is a system of medicine based on treating ‘like with like,’ meaning that the symptoms or problems caused by too much of a substance can also be relieved with a small amount of that substance. The prescribed remedies are taken from plants, animals or minerals and diluted many times, usually in water or alcohol. The remedy is given in the form of tablets, powder or drops over a set period of time. The intention of the homeopath is to prescribe a medicine that will stimulate the body’s own natural healing mechanisms to restore a healthy equilibrium. This can be on a physical, emotional and mental level. 

Hynotherapy/relaxation/ visualisation

This is not like the demonstrations you will see on TV!! The best way to think about this is as a state of deep relaxation similar to a daydream in which you are detached from your everyday cares and worries. You can then be helped to focus your mind onto things you might wish to change and the ways to do this, free from anxious thoughts. You will not be asleep or unconscious at any time and can be shown how to create this same feeling for yourself whenever you feel under pressure in your daily life. This is called ‘self hypnosis.’ 


Massage therapy is probably the oldest known therapy as it is based on simple touch, which we all do as part of human relationship.

It involves stroking, kneading or gently pressing the muscles and soft tissues of the body to help you relax mentally and physically.

Some types of massage are soft and gentle, while others are more vigorous, depending on what is asked for or needed.

It is possible to just concentrate on small areas of your body such as your feet, neck and shoulders, as well as massaging larger areas such as your back.

Medical Herbalism

This is treatment by the use of medicines made from plant extracts and has been used world-wide as one of the oldest forms of medicine. Herbalism can be used to effectively treat many symptoms in the body as well as encouraging the body's own healing and supportive mechanisms. It may improve both physical and emotional well-being.

The treatment will start with a comprehensive review of any medicines you are currently taking, a detailed examination of your diet, general health and well-being and then the remedy will be made specifically for you. It is most likely to be in the form of a tincture (liquid extract of plants) that you take in small doses and it will be prescribed for a set period of time. 


It is believed that different areas in the hands or feet are linked with different parts of your body. By applying light but firm pressure with thumb and fingers to these areas, generally in your feet, the reflexologist may help to relieve imbalances that have occurred in different areas of your body.

Reflexology may help to relieve feelings of anxiety and stress and lack of energy or self-esteem, by enabling you to feel relaxed and uplifted. It can also be useful to relieve pain and stiffness, tension and cramps, as well as improving sleep.  


This is a simple and natural form of ‘hands –on’ healing that originated in Japan. The word means ‘universal life energy’ which is around and within all of us.

You simply lie or sit (fully clothed) and the practitioner will gently place her hands over or on your body, in areas where they feel it is most needed.

It is not linked to any sort of belief system. The aim is to support the body to heal itself. 



This is a hands-on healing therapy that originated in Japan. Energy channels in the body can become blocked and make you feel stressed or generally unwell. By using gentle pressure and massaging points of your body or by stretching movements, the therapy can help to release these blockages and improve energy flow. Shiatsu may help in a variety of conditions, acute and chronic, such as back and neck problems, respiratory, digestive and menstrual disorders, stress, anxiety and insomnia. 


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