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High street offers new approach to life after a cancer diagnosis

The following article about New Approaches and our work was recently published in the Esher News.

Clare Alexander visits a 30 year old charity that has just opened its first branch in Elmbridge

New approaches to cancer is a charity offering help and support to both cancer patients and their families.

It was formed 30 years ago by two doctors and two healers who wanted to teach people the benefits of complementary medicine.

The charity acts as an "umbrella" for a national network of hundreds of self-help groups, volunteers and holistic practitioners.

A new centre has opened in Claygate and Britt Leamy, a healer and administrator there, stressed how advantageous complimentary medicine could be when it is used in addition to conventional medicine to tackle cancer.

She said: "If someone goes in for chemotherapy the body can get kind of broken and run down and we can help them by suggesting they take herbal medication and relieve them of the side effects."

The centre offers immediate and positive self-help using local therapists and other appropriate care.  A weekly support group is among the services offered.

A 92 year old lady called Ailsa Lawrence gives up her home each Wednesday afternoon for cancer sufferers and their families to meet.  She prepares food and participants speak about their illness, get advice and are also taught yoga and healing methods.  The informal sessions are varied and speakers come to talk about relevant issues from time to time.

Dottie Hook, chairman of the charity, explained their importance.  "The thing is it helps the families and the patients because they are often just as frightened as the patient and sometimes the patient cannot talk to their families about it," she told the News & Mail.

Dottie explained that, like herself, Ailsa has been involved with the charity for 25 years.  She has recently won an award for her outstanding help in the community.

Britt explained that most newcomers to the charity usually telephone them in the first instance.  They were then sent an information pack to enable them to choose which service would best suit them.  The information incorporates a video about the charity, advice on diet, lifestyle and facts about cancer, reminders about various yoga classes, including a residential course, all geared to help you live and cope with your illness.

There are many treatments available at the centre including reflexology, aromatherapy, and other healing methods and, perhaps most importantly, there is always someone for people to turn to and counselling sessions.  Britt said they tried to offer as many services as possible to help as many people as they could.

The healing technique is a very gentle form of therapy.  They make the patient comfortable and concentrate on trying to transfer the energy from the environment into their bodies.  She explained that they did this by touching different parts of the body such as the upper arm, the elbow and the shoulder.

The charity strives to help people all over the country.  It started out in London and then expanded to the counties over the years and continues to grow.  "I sent an information pack to someone in Scotland today," said Britt.

They want to encourage people from all around to find support groups of their own and to make more contacts.  "We want to help people wherever they may be", Britt added.

The charity has a room at Ashford hospital and offices in Woking.  Some treatments are available at the Claygate centre and there are always people there to talk to.  Eventually a support group will meet there too.

Pop into the Claygate centre at 36-38 The Parade (above Barclays Bank) or free-phone 0800 389 2662 for an information pack.

Picture of Dottie Hook giving herbalist Jenny Boys a massage in the garden of Ailsa Lawrence.

Dottie Hook gives a massage to herbalist Jenny Boys in the garden of Ailsa Lawrence (right).

Article reproduced by kind permission of The Esher News.

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