Ancient practice brings much needed comfort

Reflexologist Josephine Jolly brings relaxation to hospice patients.

Reflexologist Josephine Jolly brings relaxation to hospice patients.

At a difficult time in their lives, patients and carers are unwinding with complementary therapies offered in the Footprints Day Centre at the St John of God Murdoch Hospice.

Qualified practitioners provide the free therapies, including reflexology, Reiki and massage, to patients who are in palliative care and to their carers who need a moment to relax.

Volunteer Reflexologist Josephine Jolly, who has experienced breast cancer in the past herself, says the practice is particularly beneficial to those who are experiencing great stress in their lives.

“For those who have a terminal illness and for those who take care of people who are very unwell, reflexology can offer a break from the unrelenting stress,” Josephine says.

“It is a true honour to provide comfort and calm to someone when their time is precious and limited.”

Reflexology is an ancient practice, first recorded as a pictograph on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor in 2330 BC. Reflexologists apply pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands or ears, believing this corresponds to different organs and systems and benefits the person’s health and wellbeing.

In- and outpatients at Footprints Day Centre find not only does pain in their feet, legs and other part of the body diminish after sessions, but their anxiety levels are also lower.

Maria, a patient at the hospice, says reflexology helps her whole body relax and gives her relief from the nerve pain in feet.

“It is so good to get some relief,” Maria says. “I miss it when I don’t get to my session.”

Kay, who cares for her father, says reflexology gives her an hour of relaxation and helps her feel more rational.

“I am then in a better frame of mind to care for my dad,” Kay says.

“I also find that I feel able to safely express some of the issues that cause me stress, knowing that these will be kept confidential. When I walk out of Footprints I walk away a different person from the one that went in!”

Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, it is widely used to complement other treatments.

“Used in conjunction with traditional medicine and treatments, we really see the physical and emotional benefits of complementary therapies at the hospice,” Josephine says.

“They really do have an extraordinary power to make you feel better when you didn’t think it was possible.”

If you are a Reflexologist and would like to volunteer at the Murdoch Hospice, please email or visit



%d bloggers like this: