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Before the pandemic, she could be spotted around the Hospice giving relaxing treatments to patients and their loved ones, and to our healthcare staff. Sharon is qualified in a variety of therapies including aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki and has volunteered with us for almost 5 years, but sadly Covid-19 has put a hold on her volunteering for now. Sharon shares how she feels one year on...
My last voluntary complementary therapies shift was Monday 23rd March 2020. I will remember this day forever; it was a heavy day that left many people, be they staff or service users, with more questions than answers.
I was fortunate to finish two people’s treatments in full that day as they both had their fourth treatment.
I also had two new clients that day and my heart went out to them as they sobbed. I explained I could provide a treatment today but after then I am not sure when I will see them again for the time being.
Probably one of the hardest scenarios as I could not provide answers or reassurance.
In different times, the common feedback I receive from the service users at the Hospice, is that it is their 45 minutes to feel whole, a moment of not feeling broken. ‘When on your couch, I feel me, not a disease’, is something I hear very often, as is ‘it’s nice to have a touch that is respecting me and is non-clinical, rather than an invasive procedure that infringes on my dignity and choices’.
The service users and their family can escape from the realities waiting for them outside of the therapy room. They have their soul soothed and life’s perplexes can just wait and hold on for that moment in time.
No one is going anywhere... for at least for 45 minutes.
There is a plethora of scientific evidence confirming the importance and therapeutic benefits of touching. Just a basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress, it activates the vagus nerve, which is involved with our compassionate responses.
Touch also triggers the release of oxytocin which helps with bonding, reassurance and feeling nurtured. Touch increases our immune systems and our general wellbeing. It is the foundation of human survival.
I feel some changes will be implemented within the field of complementary therapies to meet new health and safety covid regulations, but I am more than willing to adapt and overcome these.
I'm looking forward to providing complementary therapies once again when I am able to. The last year has had detrimental effects for all. To be in a position to soothe one's soul is a privilege that I am exceptionally grateful for.
This story may not be published elsewhere without express permission from St Helena Hospice.
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