Using complementary therapies when you are dying | Cancer Research UK
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Using complementary therapies when you are dying

Coping with cancer

Read about using complementary therapies when you are dying. There is information about


How complementary therapies can help

Many people use complementary therapies to help them feel better, and cope with having cancer and its treatment. This is also true for people who are dying with cancer. Many complementary therapies aim to help you relax and reduce stress. They can help calm your emotions, relieve anxiety, and improve symptoms such as pain and sickness.

Some people who are dying find it helps to have gentle therapies such as

  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Reflexology

But some people find that being touched is too painful or uncomfortable. Other types of therapies may be more helpful, such as

  • Visualisation
  • Meditation
  • Reiki

Many palliative care wards and hospices have complementary therapists who can treat people who are dying.


Therapies for relatives and carers

Some hospitals, hospices and support groups also offer complementary therapies for relatives and carers. This can be a great help if you are spending a lot of time at the bedside. Taking time to have a relaxing massage can be a very important support during this emotional time.


For more information

Find out about

Complementary and alternative therapies

Support groups

Caring for the carer

Individual therapies



For general information and support

Contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 (Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

Share experiences on our online forum – Cancer Chat

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Updated: 11 May 2016