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Complimentary therapies

Complementary therapies is headed by a specialist nurse and a lead complementary therapist. The service recruits a large number of professional therapists who work voluntarily in exchange for the opportunity to develop their clinical skills within a hospital environment.

We treat individual patients with a number of different complementary therapy approaches. We also treat, to a more limited degree, carers. 

We offer:

  • Aromatherapy uses essential oils and often involves massage of the whole body. Alternatively, we often prescribe aromatherapy inhalers for symptom management.
  • Homeopathy involves the prescribing of remedies, most of which are herbal or mineral based.
  • Massage uses simple oils where part or the whole of the body is massaged.
  • Reflexology is a foot or hand massage.
  • Shiatsu is a traditional form of fully clothed Japanese massage related to acupuncture.

We also offer a weekly relaxation and guided visualisation class which is primarily for patients. Carers are welcome to attend with the patient too. For more information speak to your clinical nurse specialist.

Please note: all treatments currently take place at Whipps Cross.

Why we do it

We aim to assist with the management of symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbance and tp provide general support as a complement to conventional treatment within the Trust. Treatments are not offered as an alternative way to reduce tumours.

How often can patients attend?

Therapies are offered for four to six treatments. After this, you will be discharged although you can continue to attend support groups. We realise that needs change so we are happy for you to be re-referred as necessary.


There is no charge

Who can be referred

The service is available to anyone who has had treatment for cancer in the last 12 months at the Trust. There are some exceptions to this which are reviewed on a case by case basis. The service is also available to anyone with palliative care needs.

Being referred

We do not accept self-referrals as we require some basic clinical information. We take referrals from any health professional within the Trust, most often the clinical nurse specialists.

Peer review

The Complementary Therapies Service has been very involved in the development of Peer Review measures for North East London Cancer Network. The service has fully complied with the requirements. Find out more about the North East London Cancer Network by visiting their website.


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