Complementary therapies

With a focus on holistic approaches to wellbeing, this resource explores various complementary therapies such as massage, aromatherapy, music therapy, and mindfulness, among others. It highlights their potential to promote relaxation, alleviate symptoms, and improve quality of life for individuals receiving palliative care.

By incorporating these therapies into palliative care, patients and their loved ones can find solace and support, both physically and emotionally, during this sensitive time.

You can find out more about other therapies here.

This informative resource below aims to educate patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals about the potential benefits and considerations associated with incorporating complementary therapies into end-of-life care.


Complementary therapies are treatments which can be provided alongside conventional care to help people relax and enhance their sense of well-being. At Dorothy House Hospice Care we can offer complementary treatments for patients and their families, carers and to people who have been bereaved. All our therapists are qualified and experienced in this area of work and can make the necessary adaptations to treatments to meet the needs of our patients. It is now possible to self-refer to Dorothy House via a simple online form. Please go to our website and search for ‘referrals’.


Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant plant oils to support physical and emotional well-being. Oils are extracted from many plants and can be used in massage, bathing, as an inhalation or as a compress to achieve a wide variety of therapeutic effects. These may include relieving stress and improving a sense of well-being. Aromatherapy massage is soft and gentle, reducing muscle tension and anxiety.

Bowen Technique

The Bowen Technique is a bodywork therapy that is applied using very gentle movements. The therapist uses thumbs and fingers on specific points of the body to perform very gentle rolling type moves which stimulate muscles and soft tissues. Essential pauses are made between the moves. It is believed that Bowen therapy prompts the body to ‘reset itself’ and contributes to a sense of balance


There are many different massage techniques. At Dorothy House massage is based on simplicity and gentleness, aimed at reducing stress and tension and providing relaxation to the body and mind. Touch is known to be a vital and fundamental form of communication and massage can provide a safe soothing treatment.


Reflexology is based on the idea that there are specific points and areas on the feet and hands which correspond to all the areas, systems and parts of the body. Gentle pressure to these points is thought to have an effect on the body helping restore and maintain emotional, psychological and physical balance and general well-being.


Reiki is a gentle non-invasive therapy involving the practitioner placing their hands either on or above the persons body. The recipient may sit or lie and remains fully clothed throughout the treatment. The main aim of Reiki is to bring about balance in the mind and body to improve harmony and well-being. Recipients often report a feeling of deep relaxation during and after treatment.

How to access Complementary Therapy at Dorothy House

Complementary therapies are offered to all Dorothy House patients, carers, and people who have been bereaved. All therapies are free of charge and you may receive up to 4 sessions. Please speak to your Dorothy House key worker if you wish to be referred.

After Care

People often feel more relaxed after complementary therapy, if you are able to rest following your treatment this may be beneficial. Take care with driving after treatment. Try drinking more drinks that do not contain caffeine. If you have any concerns relating to your complementary therapy treatment, please contact the complementary team at Dorothy House.