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.

It is a suite of treatments, including clinical massage, scar tissue therapy and acupuncture, that go hand in hand with clinical care and patient recovery. Research shows that massage can reduce stress, anxiety and pain; 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. It can be used as an effective tool in patient recovery and rehabilitation.

Whether working with inpatients, outpatients, carers or staff, our complementary therapy team at the Royal Free Charity looks after the whole person.

Nickie Williamson, complementary therapies service’s lead since 2019, co-ordinates a dedicated team, which last year delivered 11,000 massage treatments given to Royal Free London patients and staff where 100%
of patients felt an improvement in their physical and/or emotional wellbeing and 99% of patients said they were ‘very satisfied’ with their massage treatment.

“I felt held and pampered, valued as a human being.  The healing power of touch cannot be over emphasised. Also my frozen shoulder was better and all the tension melted away.”

Outpatient, Royal Free Hospital

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
  • Improves mobility
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve respiratory rates
  • Provide companionship, especially for the care of the elderly
  • Improve wellbeing

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

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 and have been approved as safe to use within the hospital.

Massage therapy referral

Patients are 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.

Scar tissue therapy massage


In patients

Inform staff  you would like to be added to the massage therapy patient list. Once the team have received the referral form they will do their 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 the team.

Radiotherapy out-patients

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 the complementary therapy team are unable to make appointments without having first received a referral form.

Donate towards complementary 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.