Just do it! NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapy (Cancer Pathway) With the aim of gaining practical experience as a complementary therapist in a cancer-care setting, I found my way to the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Cancer Centre in Harrogate where the first NHS Natural Therapy School is based, for the 12 week program leading to the NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapy (Cancer Pathway). This program offered an unique opportunity to learn and work within a professional, supportive and caring team, to NHS standards, while helping people during their cancer treatments, their carers, and patients on wards in the main hospital, through the power of touch – in my case, aromatherapy massage. The required medical and professional standards were obviously very high, and I was a bit daunted at first. There was a lot to learn about professional standards in the NHS, about the many forms of cancer and how these impact on people and how to tailor treatments to individual circumstances and the constraints of being on a hospital ward. However, as experiences go, this was probably one of the most rewarding professional and human experiences I have had, if not the most. Underpinning this was the expert and ongoing coaching and guidance from Gwyn Featonby, who leads the program, and support from Beverly Harrison and the wider team, which was invaluable. “Light touch” but the right touch. Also, the chance to work with and learn from fellow therapists was an added bonus. Through evidence-based practice, it was satisfying to see positive results for patients. Being accepted by medical professionals as part of the wider team supporting patients was amazing. So, if I have any advice for anyone considering embarking on this journey, it would be to “just do it”!
EMMETT is a gentle soft tissue release technique developed by Australian remedial therapist Ross Emmett. It involves the therapist using light finger pressure at specific locations on the body to elicit a relaxation response within the area of concern.
Cancer impacts people in different ways throughout the journey of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Many have found the EMMETT Technique to be very beneficial in a number of ways. Although pressure therapy isn’t new (e.g. acupressure and trigger point therapy are already well known), the amount of pressure required with EMMETT is much lighter and the placement of the pressure is unique to EMMETT Therapy.
Many cancer patients undergo surgery and experience post-surgery tightness and tension around the surgery site in the scar tissue and further afield through the connective tissue or fascia as the body heals. They experience restricted range of movement that may be painful too. Mastectomy patients as an example will usually experience pain or tenderness, swelling around the surgery site, limited arm or shoulder movement, and even numbness in the chest or upper arm. Here’s where EMMETT can assist. With gentle pressure to specific points, many women have received relief from the pain, reduced swelling and much improved range of movement. There are multiple EMMETT points that are used to help these women and that give the therapist a range of options depending on the patient’s specific concern.
Many cancer patients also experience fatigue, increased risk of infection, nausea, appetite changes and constipation as common side effects of chemotherapy. These symptoms can also be greatly supported with a designated sequence where the EMMETT Therapist gently stimulates areas all around the body for an overall effect. Patients report reduction in swelling, feelings of lightness, increased energy, more robust emotional well-being, less pain and feeling better generally within themselves.
Patients are treated in a private treatment room in the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre. Patients will have a one to one consultation with the complementary Therapist and give informed consent before receiving treatment.