CNHC Registered Reflexologist Keith Moore spent twelve months providing reflexology to patients in mental health services at a hospital in Hastings. Here he reflects on his experiences and offers guidance to others interested in working with specific client groups. Keith had worked in mental health services previously and wanted to pursue this further.
He initially contacted a psychologist at his local hospital to enquire about offering his reflexology services. They suggested he contact the Head of Occupational Therapy (OT) which he did and she was keen to take it up. Keith commented: “I was really pleased when the Head of OT said yes to my offer of one afternoon a week for twelve months. We agreed that staff would keep a log of how patients responded, given that many patients were in states of high anxiety”
The hospital wanted to see evidence of Keith’s CNHC registration plus details of his qualifications and insurance. Keith also produced some information about reflexology and asked staff to make this available to patients on the ward. He said: “I was keen that patients actively chose to come and see me rather than had reflexology referred, so they could feel empowered that they had taken that step.”
Keith also chatted to the mental health nurses and Occupational Therapists and got feedback over time. This was very positive and staff reported that patients who had received a session were much calmer both immediately afterwards and also during the night, which made a big difference to those who struggled to get much sleep.
A number of patients responded particularly well and staff were also very positive about the impact that sessions were having. Keith explains: “Initially I saw a couple of people who had heard of reflexology or had received it before. The feedback was so positive that word spread, especially through the patient council which involved past patients who liaised with staff. More people began to come along – people who had never tried anything like reflexology before.”
It had been hoped that funding could be found to continue the service following the twelve months but unfortunately this was not possible and the service came to an end as Keith could no longer continue on a voluntary basis.
Keith says now: “It was an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to create a space for people to receive reflexology in this way. Now I’ve done it, I see lots of clients with mental health conditions. I haven’t actually advertised that but somehow they find me.”
For others thinking of offering a service in a particular field Keith says: “If volunteering is an option I suggest going to find a relevant organisation where you can offer your services. You will gain invaluable experience and will also become more confident when talking about and working with the relevant client group.”