Meet our volunteers – Elvira Capone

Elvira Capone – Therapy volunteer (Indian head massage)

I’m a complementary therapist at the hospice. I’ve been offering Indian head massage to patients, carers and staff since last September. In fact, I trained to become qualified in Indian head massage specifically so I could offer massages here. I’ve always been into wellness, and I wanted to do something that could give back. My mother was a patient here ten years ago, and there wasn’t much on offer in terms of complementary therapies back then.  

For the inpatient, the massage helps because it brings them a sense of calm and relieves anxiety. The feedback I’ve received is that it helps take them to another place for a short while, and there’s plenty of evidence about the benefits of gentle touch. I’ve noticed the change in breathing in some patients with respiratory disorders as their muscles relax.  

I also offer massages to friends and family of the patients. When you have a loved one in the hospice, your whole focus is on them and what’s happening to them. So, a massage is a form of self-care for carers, to take them away and help them relax a bit, and even connect to the situation in a way that allows them to deal with things. 

For me, and for those receiving the massage, it’s a moment of stillness, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I think the misconception of the hospice is that it’s like a hospital, it’s just people who are dying, but it’s not like that – there’s so much life here, even at the end of life. Me and the patients exchange stories, and I learn so much from them. We live in a day and age where it’s a bit of a rat race, and it’s so important to make time to connect to yourself and with other people. I’d come here every day, if I could.