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Marion goes hands on at Noble's Hospital 1 September 2003

On the same day that the UK Health and Safety Executive issued its first enforcement notice against an NHS hospital for failing to protect doctors and nurses from stress at work, a therapeutic massage programme has been introduced at Noble's Hospital on the Isle of Man.

Red Cross Therapeutic Care volunteer, Marion Ord, has brought her specialist massage skills to the hospital and will be treating staff and patients two days a week.

Marion says,

"It's amazing what just a seven minute neck and shoulder massage can achieve, a headache that is caused by tension will ease or even vanish completely within forty five minutes of a massage. When people are stressed the fight or flight mechanism causes them to raise shoulders, or clench the jaw, and this can lead to neck pain and migraine headaches."

Historically, Red Cross volunteers visited hospitals to provide manicure and beauty therapy for elderly patients. However, in recent times, the Red Cross has realised the threat posed by stress and tension and has responded by training their volunteers in therapeutic massage.

Before Marion moved to the Isle of Man she worked in the Women's Health Unit at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital.

The unit catered for patients undergoing treatment for conditions such as breast cancer. As well as bringing massage to the wards at Noble's Hospital Marion spends several hours a week with memory loss patients at Cronk Coar.

Nationally, the cost of stress is staggering. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that British industry loses 370 million a year because of stress, while the cost to society, as a whole, could be 3.75 billion.

Marion's voluntary work with patients and staff will represent a valuable contribution to the other innovative healing programmes within the hospital.

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