Our healthy living work is all about health and well-being, looking after and nourishing ourselves and gaining confidence. We have a complementary therapies room, where people on very low incomes, and often with complex needs, can receive massage, or counselling. We work with experienced, qualified professionals so that people receive the best treatment available.
We have found that body therapies have profound benefits for people experiencing mental, as well as physical, ailments, where often touch and care are missing in their lives. In addition, the physical well-being of people with mental health needs is often overlooked. We have also discovered that massage and reflexology are culturally appropriate for many of our local Asian, Caribbean and African communities. Some from these backgrounds may not be accessing conventional mental health services for various reasons, including language and cultural barriers. As well as giving them treatments and gaining their trust and respect, we can also then signpost them to other appropriate services.
Many of our participants suffer from high levels of stress, which adversely affects their health and well-being. The contribution complementary therapies can make to relieving stress is now widely recognised, but such therapies are not widely available in our area, and, where they are, they are prohibitively expensive for those living on benefits and low income.
In May 2003, we established St Luke’s Treatment Room, as a direct result of the expressed need of those attending our drop-ins and our Centre as a whole. Our aim is to provide affordable complementary therapies and healthy living activities to users of our drop-ins and to people in the local community. We have been able to set up this service as a result of receiving grants to do the necessary building alterations, buy equipment, set up a monitoring and evaluation system and provide heavily-subsidised treatments. Users of the service contribute by voluntary donation.