Complementary therapies guidelines

National guidelines to encourage good practice in the use of complementary therapies for palliative care have been published by the National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services and The Prince of Wales’s Foundation for Integrated Health.
Nine complementary therapies are included in the guidelines - acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, hypnosis and hypnotherapy, massage, reflexology, reiki, spiritual healing and therapeutic touch.
Although the guidelines’ main focus is cancer, there is also information on how the therapies can help with motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and MS. According to a recent survey cited by the Prince of Wales’s Foundation, 32% of cancer patients receive complementary therapy treatments, and almost half of those not already receiving them would like to do so.
Free copies are to be given to all UK hospices, supportive and palliative care providers, and primary care trusts.
It is hoped that the guidelines – aimed at managers, health professionals and others responsible for developing complementary therapy services in palliative care – will help organisations develop their own policies on the use of complementary therapies based on good practice and local needs.