Talking therapies with healthcare professionals  

Blog Julie Croad hospital talk with doc

Julie Croad, MFHT, writes about her experience delivering a talk about therapies to staff at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital with her colleague, Jazz Roberts. 

Jazz and I consider ourselves extremely lucky to work for Rowan Tree Cancer Care, a charity that places therapists in local GPs surgeries. We were recently asked to deliver a talk at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and our brief was to inform the trainees about the health conditions that can be helped by complementary therapies.    

Now, GPs are scientists and I know that scientists want hard facts, figures and evidence. All their work is evidence based, so they are reluctant to signpost anything that isn’t proven. With this in mind, I came prepared with information about two treatments I know have had clinical research: reflexology and massage for pre-term infants. 

Luckily, the Autumn 2019 issue of IT contained a few articles about integrated health, so I brought a few copies along with me. The three articles I highlighted to them were: ‘Full Circle Support’ by Suzanne Ruggles, MSc, DIPHE; ‘Being Part of Social Prescribing’ by Teresa Meekings, MFHT; and ‘Getting your Foot in the GPs Door’ by Dr Toh Wong, an article about how therapists can get referrals from GPs. The trainees were very interested in the articles, particularly ‘Full Circle Support’ and ‘Getting your Foot in the GPs Door’.  

I began the talk by explaining that, while our industry is not statutory regulated, we have taken on voluntary regulation to ensure practice is carried out properly and safely for both clients and therapists. I introduced the FHT, explained the conditions of membership, the code of conduct and that the FHT runs the largest Accredited Register of complementary therapists, as part of a government-backed programme 

We then went on to explain the physical effects of massage on muscles and soft tissue. I explained that the different massage movements and pressures can be helpful in breaking down tension, knots and easing muscles that have become tightened or strained by overuse.  

Jazz then spoke in depth about the many benefits of reflexology, manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) and reflexology lymph drainage (RLD), the latter particularly in the management of lymphoedema in cancer care.  

For many years my interest in providing therapies has been their stress relieving effects and so I spoke at length about the emotional effects of therapy, how treatments can lift mood, relax the mind and allow the body to recover from the physical and emotional problems caused by stress.   

We ended the session by offering taster treatments. The GPs who accepted reported feeling relaxed afterward. One was very surprised how relaxing having his hands massaged was.    

Before we left, I asked all the GPs if they felt they had learned something. The answer was a firm, ‘yes.’ I asked if they thought they would remember complementary therapies as an option to treatment when they were qualified and again the answer was ‘yes’. 

On a personal note, I believe social prescribing is the way forward for wellbeing in the UK. Complementary therapies fit so well into this system and could lessen the burden on today’s NHS. Life has changed very much since the NHS began and healthcare needs to change in order to fit the different health issues of today’s society.   

The Royal Glamorgan Hospital is organizing a wellness event next year and we have been asked to take part. We are very proud of our industry and to be able to work with conventional medicine practitioners is a privilege.   

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