What is Cancer?
Cancer is a word used to describe a group of diseases of the body. Each has an individual type of treatment and chance of being cured.
The organs and tissues of the body are made up of tiny building blocks of cells. Cancer is a disease of these cells. In healthy tissues, these cells replace themselves when they get worn out or injured. In cancerous cells this does not happen and the cells keep on growing in number. This results in an invasion of healthy cells and tissues of the body by the cancer cells.
These abnormal cells form a tumour which can be benign or malignant. Benign tumours do not spread and are not cancer. Malignant tumours can spread form the original site and invade other tissues and organs. This happens when a group of cells breaks away and travels through the blood stream or lymph glands to form a new tumour elsewhere in the body. This is called a metastases or secondary tumour.
Getting a diagnosis of cancer for yourself or a loved one has to be one of the most frightening experiences in life.
Treatment can involve surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal drugs. During this time the patient will need a lot of support, this will involve practical support, and also support for the mind, body and spirit.
This is where Complimentary therapies such as reflexology come in and are of huge benefit to the patient and their carer’s.
- Can lower pain levels and result in lower medication.
- Can help with constipation, diarrhoea and nausea.
- Boosts the immune system.
- Helps body tissue heal and repair from the effects of treatment.
- Can help to reduce ankle oedema.
- Reduces muscle tension and thus relieves pain.
- Can boost energy levels and aid sleep.
Emotional and Spiritual Benefits
- Helps to relieve stress, fear and anxiety.
- Helps to manage depression and promote relaxation.
- Provides an opportunity for touch which is very healing.
- Gives the patient a chance to express themselves in a safe space.
- Helps to balance and normalise the body.
- Gives them the opportunity to feel pampered and looked after.
Reflexology is now offered in most Cancer centres, Hospices and Hospitals.
For people who experience it, one of the first and most noticeable effects they experience is deep relaxation. This can be a temporary release for the person with a terminal illness from stress, pain and anxiety. Muscle tension and pain is reduced as a result and the nervous system produces endorphins which improve the mood and aid in better sleep.
For the patient at end of life this touch therapy may be the only way that compassion and love can be conveyed to them when words are no longer possible.
Reflexology is covered by all health insurers depending on your plan.