Complementary Therapy: World Kidney Day blog

I am the Complementary Therapy Practitioner for the Renal services within the North West. Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust operates dialysis units in Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Oldham and Rochdale.

On World Kidney Day, we will be around in the Hope Building to demonstrate our treatments and talk about the complementary therapy programme.

Complementary Therapy WKD2018This project commenced in December 2015 with the help of the Lead Consultant Janet Hegarty and Kidney Care UK, formerly the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA), which has helped fund the project. The project is patient centric, where the needs of the patient are paramount. Its aim is to provide the best quality of care and is continuously looking for ways to improve the patient’s experience of dialysis.

My role is to recruit and train volunteers so that they can go onto any of the 5 Renal units in Great Manchester these units are in Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Oldham & Rochdale. These volunteers will deliver therapies to the patients whilst they are on dialysis. Not only can this be a lovely treatment, in addition Complementary Therapy practice may aid stress reduction in patients receiving renal haemodialysis and as a result, may improve their quality of life and the dialysis experience. The physiological therapeutic effects of therapies can help ease muscular or bone pain, reduce the symptoms of irritable legs, help reduce itching and cramps that the renal patient suffer.

Are Complementary Therapies safe?

Complementary Therapies are often promoted as ‘safe’, ‘gentle’ or even ‘natural’ – but this doesn’t mean they don’t always have their own side effects. They may not be appropriate in all cases. Our Therapists have had training from our unit consultant on aspects of kidney disease and dialysis treatment; in addition they have had training in a short course of massage.

Therapies have been used in many clinical practices in the past and there is a lot of research and evidence to prove that it works and can be extremely beneficial to the recipient.

We offer a range of therapies including Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Reiki and more – please ask for details.

Complementary Therapy WKD2018Since the start of the project it has picked up momentum and at present we have 23 Therapists in situ. There are 11 Volunteer Therapists at Salford Dialysis unit, 4 at Wigan, 5 at Bolton and 2 at Oldham.

We carry out interviews regularly and Volunteer Services work hard to carry out DBS and references etc,. There are currently another 5 that are going through the processing stage. The Therapists are thoroughly enjoying their experience working on the dialysis unit and they get so much out of helping the patients, it’s lovely to be able to make a small difference to the patients quality of life and help with the symptoms they can incur as a patient with renal failure.

Patient Feedback is great. One patient said “it makes her feel like life is worth living”. Another also told us the agonising cramps he was suffering in his hands and arms have lessened and the massage treatments were really nice and “felt really good”. One patient  was sceptical before he started to have treatments. We treated him for chronic cramps and burning sensations in his feet and legs. He recalls it was amazing how he could go out for walks with his dog and enjoy it without being in pain, now he mentions his walking stick has gone and hasn’t needed to use it since, he now has regular treatments at Wigan. Therapies can be contagious and when one patient sees his neighbour having a treatment, they too want to experience having therapies.

We regularly carry out training events for our Volunteer Therapists which they love and we give a certificate for their attendance. (see below)

Complementary Therapy WKD2018

Our Therapists also get recognition when they have been with us for a year.

Complementary Therapy WKD2018

One of our patients at Salford enjoying her time with her Therapist.








Complementary Therapy WKD2018

Group picture of our wonderful renal staff and some of the Complementary Therapists.


If you are a Dialysis patient and would like to know about the therapies we offer then please get in touch or ask renal staff for information.

Fancy Joining our group of Therapists? Then contact me on the details below:

Janet Cairnie – Complementary Therapy Practitioner, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust,  Base Office: Wigan Renal Unit, Boston House, Wigan. Tel :- 0161 206 4812 Mobile :- 07837860717





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