We’ve joined forces! Find out more here.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies can be hugely beneficial to patients going through a cancer journey by helping alleviate stress, promote relaxation or just providing that opportunity to have some ‘you-time’. 

It can be difficult knowing what therapy is right for you, so at the Fern Centre we offer three types of complementary therapies which you can try free of charge. 

These therapies are reiki, reflexology and massage and are provided by fully qualified volunteers. Patients, relatives and carers will be able to access up to 6 sessions free of charge.


Reiki is a beautiful non-intrusive holistic treatment, which is becoming more and more recognised for its incredible benefits to the mind and body, both physically, mentally and spiritually.

Everything around us is made up of energy and it’s all vibrating at a different frequency depending what and where it is. Our bodies are no different. We are all thought to have energy centres within our body and when we have an illness, suffering from anxiety or depression, for example, then the body can also be out of balance, energetically.

Reiki helps to balance these energies.

During the treatment, the client remains fully clothed and it can be carried out either laying on a massage couch or sat in a chair, so can be adapted to meet everyone’s needs. The therapist will gently place their hands on or near the body and stay in that position for a few minutes before moving to another part. There is no massage or manipulation throughout.

Everyone’s experience of the treatment is unique to them as we are all different and have different ailments and emotions. However, there are some common sensations that can occur; heat can be felt from the therapist’s hands, people can sometimes see colours and often the client will experience a deep sense of relaxation, calmness and clarity. As a result, clients can leave feeling a great sense of peace and harmony.

Please see our short video explaining a bit more about the therapy and the service offered at the Fern Centre and within the hospital.


Reflexology is a therapeutic method of relieving pain by stimulating predefined pressure points on the feet and hands. This controlled pressure alleviates the source of the discomfort. In the absence of any particular malady or abnormality, reflexology may be as effective for promoting good health and for preventing illness as it may be for relieving symptoms of stress, injury, and illness.

Reflexologists work from maps of predefined pressure points that are located on the hands and feet. These pressure points are reputed to connect directly through the nervous system and affect the bodily organs and glands. The reflexologist manipulates the pressure points according to specific techniques of reflexology therapy. By means of this touching therapy, any part of the body that is the source of pain, illness, or potential debility can be strengthened through the application of pressure at the respective foot or hand location.

One of our volunteers Lesley, from Lesley Tucker Reflexology, has very kindly put together some short “how to videos” for simple reflexology techniques you can try at home.


Massage therapy is a wonderful treatment with many advantages and can be tailored to meet anyone’s specific needs.

It is a ‘hands-on’ technique which gently manipulates muscles and rubs the soft tissue of the body relieving any tension.

The main benefits of massage can include:

  • Reduced level of stress and anxiety
  • Improvement to sleep
  • Enhanced energy levels
  • Relaxation
  • Improvement in mental health

Due to the increased feeling of relaxation and stress relief, there can be a significant reduction in pain and a boost to the immune system.

Massage has been known to help reduce symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments, which therefore enhances quality of life and wellbeing.

How to access complementary therapies

If you would like to access our complementary therapies, you can do this by speaking to a member of your clinical team who will be able to complete a referral for you. Alternatively, pop into the Fern Centre, and one of our friendly volunteers will be able to complete the referral with you. Once a referral has been received you will be contacted with an appointment.

Latest Stories

Donate today and help us make a difference to the Fern Centre’s cancer patients

Say thanks to a special someone!

Make a quick donation

Giving £5, £10, £20 or even £50 ensures we can continue to help, support and make a real difference to patients, staff and families across the whole of Devon.