Complementary Therapies are designed to enhance quality of life and support health and well-being. They are generally used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments and compliment an individual’s chosen treatment pathway. The complementary therapies provided at the COUCH Wellness Centre align to evidence-based cancer care and have known researched benefits for people diagnosed and living with cancer. For further information on recent research outcomes in complementary therapies used in cancer care, please view our Evidence and Research page.
Complementary therapies do not replace treatment regimes, they can instead be effective in managing some treatment side effects and decreasing stress and anxiety.
Oncology Massage is different to remedial or Swedish massage. It is a specialised therapeutic massage designed for people living with cancer. The Massage Therapist has undertaken further training specifically in oncology and understands the impacts and side effects of cancer treatment.
The treatment is tailored to support the client’s individual needs and research has shown Oncology Massage improves a range of treatment issues that people living with cancer may experience, including fatigue, nausea, constipation, anxiety, pain and depression.
The techniques used are gentle and focus on softening the muscle tissues. During your first consult, the Therapist will gather information on your health, well-being and cancer history. They will also ask about your cancer treatments and any side effects or symptoms you may be experiencing. This level of information enables the Therapist to adapt the treatment specifically to your needs and achieve the best outcomes for you during your massage.
Private Health Insurance rebates are available for Oncology Massage at the COUCH Wellness Centre.
This service will be available in the near future. Please contact us to enquire or find out more about how Reflexology may provide support whilst living with cancer.
Acupuncture is based on the theory that the placement of needles into certain points of the body unblocks and moves qi (vital energy) to strengthen and reduce physical and emotional symptoms. Research suggests that the needles stimulate the nervous system and the connective tissue in the body and help produce certain biomolecules such as hormones.
Acupuncture therapists put fine, sterile needles just under the skin into energy channels called meridians to stimulate energy flow. Each meridian has many acupuncture points along its path. The main areas of research into acupuncture for cancer are chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, and it is included in clinical guidelines for dealing with side effects. Evidence suggests acupuncture may also reduce anxiety, fatigue, hot flushes and some types of pain. Research is continuing on the effectiveness in relieving dry mouth and chemotherapy-induced tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy).
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated from India over 5,000 years ago. There are many styles of Yoga as it continues to grow increasingly popular in the West.
At COUCH, we offer “Gentle and Restorative Yoga” to help you relax with a combination of physical movement (yoga postures), breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Yoga classes are designed to help build awareness between the body and mind and connection to yourself. One of the main reasons people living with cancer love yoga is because it makes them feel good and provides a sense of relaxation, relief and clarity of mind.
Yoga is known to provide many benefits to health and well-being and can assist with stress and anxiety, flexibility and strength, improvement in energy levels and sleep.
Classes will generally include some breath work (pranayama), yoga postures (asanas) and relaxation/meditation. Classes are open and accessible to all. Yoga is designed to create harmony within the body and mind, so you are always encouraged to listen to your own body and to rest whenever you feel you need to during the class.
Pilates is a gentle exercise that focuses on core strength, muscle balance and postural alignment. The movements are completed either sitting or lying down on a matt and use gravity to help stabilise your core. Exercises are easily modifiable for all levels and can be adapted to suit your individual challenges or needs.
Pilates is a safe and supportive practice for improving muscle weakness, managing pain, promoting range of movement, postural enhancement and building of strength. It can also assist with recovery from cancer treatment and when working with a specialist who understands the needs of people with cancer, Pilates can be a gentle rehabilitation practice.
Meditation creates stillness and assists with the connection between the mind and the body. There are many forms of meditation that can be supportive for people diagnosed and living with cancer. Overall, the benefits include reduction in anxiety and stress, relaxation, awareness of self and clarity of thought, which all support improved health and well-being.
Mindfulness meditation is a practice which connects you to your present and gently brings awareness and attention back to your current feelings, situation or thoughts. It assists in reducing the ‘chatter’ and a wandering mind and brings focus back to a moment-by-moment approach to reduce stress and improve physical and psychological health.
‘Focused’ and ‘Visualisation’ or ‘Guided Imagery’ meditation is another approach where you can use or visualise specific objects or images to bring focus back and reduce the ‘noise’ of the mind. This can assist with relaxation and training the mind to refocus again after treatment.
Click here to access the weekly timetable for Meditation classes.