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Complementary Therapies in Cancer & Palliative Care

The role of complementary therapists in hospitals & hospices

This is a Continuing Professional Development course. It is anticipated this 2-day course will qualify for 10 CPD points with most professional bodies.

Next Course

The next course will run on week-end dates to be announced in 2021, from 9.30am to 4pm in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. There will be two twenty minute breaks (refreshment provided) and a forty five minute lunch break (refreshment not provided).

Course Description

This is a two-day CPD course for complementary therapists with recognised Level 3 practitioner qualifications (reflexology, massage, aromatherapy, indian head massage, reiki, the bowen technique, hypnotherapy). A good knowledge of Anatomy & Physiology is mandatory. The minimum number of students is 2 and the maximum number of students is 4.

The course is designed to allow practitioners to gain confidence in working with cancer patients and those receiving palliative care, and to give them the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate with other professional colleagues within this specialist healthcare environment.

The tutors’ focus is broad-based and they provide an excellent introduction and valuable insights into

  • the role and contribution of complementary therapists in hospitals & hospices
  • the protocols and issues you should be aware of
  • the importance of teamwork
  • professional boundaries
  • working with the patient/client and not the cancer.

There will be several case study scenarios which will form part of the course assessment. Please note that this course does not cover individual therapies in relation to cancer/palliative care and you might want to consider further specialist training to increase proficiency within your own particular therapy discipline(s).

You will be awarded a certificate of attendance as evidence of CPD for your portfolio.

Course Content

  • What is cancer?
  • What is palliative care?
  • Causes of cancer
  • Types of cancer – signs and symptoms
  • Medical treatments & side effects
  • Emotional effects of cancer
  • The role of the complementary therapist
  • Contraindications & cautions
  • Providing complementary therapy
  • Adapting your treatment – including positioning
  • Supervision and mentoring – taking care of yourself


Mariette Lobo, owner and principal tutor at Body in Balance Training, pioneered the use of complementary therapies in the fields of cancer and palliative care at the Beatson Oncology Centre and TakTent Cancer Support, in Glasgow. Her service provided the roadmap for initiatives within hospitals and hospices all over Scotland, many of which used the Beatson/TakTent model to springboard their own programme of complementary therapy care.

Jane McCafferty recently retired as Clinical Nurse Specialist Gynaecology/Oncology and Nurse Colposcopist at NHS Fife. Prior to this, she held several senior positions within Gynaecology/Oncology in Edinburgh where she gained expertise in gynaecology related cancers. Her involvement in research projects at the innovative Reproductive Outpatients Clinic in Edinburgh, which she was instrumental in setting up, gained her an award from Edinburgh University. Her experience in complementary therapies includes professional development courses in reflexology, massage and aromatherapy.