The charity offers massage therapy to enhance the trust’s care for its patients and support for its staff.

Known as “the treat” and not “the treatment”, massage is an addition, not an alternative, to medical care.

Research has shown that massage can reduce stress and anxiety; it can help people cope better with the illnesses and uncertainties they face and shorten the amount of time a patient needs to be in hospital.

Whether working with inpatients, outpatients, carers or staff, therapists focus on looking after the whole person, rather than focusing on a patient with a condition.

In 1992, one therapist, Keith Hunt, pioneered the offer of massage to patients diagnosed with cancer at the Royal Free. From this he grew a department and was awarded a MBE for outstanding services to complementary therapy.

The department now serves patients in all disciplines and has a team of paid staff.

Nickie Williamson became the complementary therapies service’s lead in 2019. She co-ordinates a dedicated team which last year delivered more than 17,000 visits to patients on the wards.

Patients and staff find comfort and support in the touch offered and in the mental space created.

As a thank you to the trust’s staff for their remarkable commitment, stamina and hard work throughout the pandemic, the massage team established a permeant massage clinic dedicated to staff.

Main areas supported by massage therapy

  • Oncology (Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy)
  • Dialysis
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Transplantation
  • ICU
  • Maternity
  • Rheumatology and scleroderma
  • Infectious diseases
  • Care of the elderly


Benefits of Massage Therapy

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Aid pain management
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve respiratory rates
  • Relieve boredom
  • Provide companionship, especially for the care of the elderly
  • Improve wellbeing

Where possible we can also support patients’ carers, close family members and partners.

We also provide massage for staff members (please email [email protected])


What type of massage do we provide?

The type of massage we offer is clinical massage which is very gentle and based on the “Swedish” technique which has been adapted to consider the patients’ physical and emotional needs. The department uses oils which have been specially blended for us for our department for safe use within the hospital.

Massage therapy music also helps patients and carers relax and CDs can be purchased from the therapy team.


Massage therapy referral

Patients need to be referred by a member of the multi-disciplinary team looking after them as the massage team need to be aware of certain
medical conditions and of any surgical areas that they may need to avoid.

In patients

Please inform staff that you would like to be added to the massage therapy patient list. Once we have received the referral form we will do our best to see you within 24hours (therapy sessions provided Monday to Friday).


If you are attending Chemotherapy, PITU or the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, please let your nurse know that you would like to be included on the massage therapy list and they will inform us accordingly.

Radiotherapy out-patients

If you would like a massage please ask staff at the radiotherapy department to complete a referral form and they will also give you details of how to book an appointment. Please note that we are unable to make appointments without having first received a referral form.

Donate to massage therapy

It’s about the ‘Treat’ not the treatment. Putting the patient before their illness and bringing a smile when it is most needed. Every massage provided is free to the recipient. It costs the charity £25 to provide each therapy session which includes therapist’s time and oils. A £25 donation provides massage therapy for a patient, reducing stress and anxiety.


We would love to hear how massage therapy has made a difference to you or your loved one. Please leave a comment for the team.