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Using complementary therapies when you are dying

People who are dying with cancer sometimes use complementary therapies to help them cope with cancer and its treatment. 

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 other people find that being touched is too painful or uncomfortable. You might find other types of therapies more helpful, such as:

  • visualisation
  • meditation
  • reiki

Many palliative care wards and hospices have complementary therapists who can treat you when you 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. Having a relaxing massage can be a very important support during this emotional time.