ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Volumes have been written about the pros and cons of antidepressants. See Depression to understand the continual abuse of these drugs by individuals and the doctors who prescribe them. Discussion on each group and type of antidepressant would require an entire website itlself, so those using antidepressants should discuss the matter with a medically qualified … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANTICOAGULANTS

The blood system has a complex and fascinating cascade – one reaction triggers another in a course of approximately 15 different stages – that allows the blood to clot. This process is essential to prevent blood loss if any vessels are damaged externally or internally but it can become a problem if clotting occurs within … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANTICANCER DRUGS

There is no doubt that these drugs can be life-saving and have their place in holistic medicine. Their mode of action varies but in principle they tend to stop fast-replicating cells from doing so. This is usually done by interfering with the chemistry or the chromosomes of the cancer cells. Unfortunately, no cancer drug is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANTIBIOTICS

Antibiotics are produced to fight bacterial infection. The drugs may be bactericidal – where bacteria are killed – or bacteriostatic – where the treatment prevents the germs from multiplying. There are many antibacterial compounds in nature, garlic, ginger and honey being three very common ones. Manufactured antibiotics come about through the fabled tale of Sir … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANTACIDS

The stomach produces acid to initiate the breakdown of ingested food. The stomach has a lining that produces a thick protective mucus, which prevents the very high acid content from breaking down the stomach wall. A variety of illnesses and poor life-style can lead to the breakdown of this mucous membrane which in turn leads … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANALGESICS

Analgesics can be divided into non-opioid analgesics which include aspirin, paracetemol and acetaminophen, and other non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs , which are discussed in their own section. If modern medicine has come up with anything particularly worthwhile, it is the ability to numb most pain. All the drugs have side effects but principally these are clearly … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANAESTHETICS

The development of anaesthetics has come a long way since biting the bullet and strong slugs of brandy. Ether was a godsend in comparison to the pain relief offered by the barber surgeons. No physician would encourage the use of anaesthetics if surgery can be avoided but on the whole they are safe and necessary. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AMPHETAMINES

Amphetamines are rarely prescribed except by hospital physicians in a few specific types of disease. Amphetamines are, however, commonplace as a drug of abuse. Uppers, speed and reds are examples of the varying forms of amphetamines. Derivatives of amphetamines were popularly prescribed as diet pills. Unwise physicians may continue to do this but they lead … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AIDS DRUGS

Zidovudine, also known as azidothymidine, and therefore referred to as AZT, was manufactured many years ago as an anticancer, chemotherapeu-tic agent. It was too toxic for use and therefore never marketed. Wellcome, the pharmaceutical giant, discovered that AZT was detrimental to the human immunodeficiency virus . In fact the initial trials suggested very little about … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ADRENALINE

Adrenaline is a naturally occurring hormone made in the adrenal glands. It is used as a drug to treat allergic reactions in such events as insect stings, medical drug reactions and hypersensitivity to certain foods, most commonly eggs and peanuts. The most serious form of allergy reaction is called anaphylaxis, where the bronchial tree tightens … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: DRUGS

‘If you have to take drugs, here are some facts you should know…’ A trial reported in the British Medical Journal in November 1996 showed that research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies performed in general practice does not appear to generate a high level of scientifically valid or clinically relevant findings. A report by WHAT DOCTORS … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ZONE THERAPY

Dr W H Fitzgerald, the founder of reflexology, divided the body vertically into ten zones and isolated the acupressure points within them . Pressure applied creates changes throughout the entire body. Whereas reflexology uses points on the feet, a zone therapist works throughout the whole system, using reflex areas all over the body. Pressure is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ZEN

Zen is a Japanese school of Buddhism, of 12th-century Chinese origin, teaching that contemplation of one’s essential nature to the exclusion of all else is the only path to pure enlightenment. It is a philosophy of life, promoting self-discipline through insight, self-awareness and mindfulness, both of the self and others. Buddhism, simply put, sees the … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: YOGA

Yoga is a system of movement which has been practised in India for 5,000 years. Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word for union and is principally geared towards uniting the spiritual, mental and physical aspects of the being. Yoga works on the body, mind and soul, and is part of an entire philosophical system, … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: VISUALIZATION

The mind has a powerful influence on the body. Whether this is through psychoneuroimmunology or through a direct mind/body connection as the Eastern philosophies suggest, the mind can be used to cure problems. Visualization, or forming meaningful images in the mind, is a visual approach to meditation that can have a therapeutic effect in several … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: T’AI-CHI CH’UAN

Abbreviated frequently to Tai Chi, this is one group or set of movements among a vast number of exercise protocols that make up Qi Gong. Tai Chi can be practised at any age and allows the free flow of Qi through the meridians and channels, many of which are utilized by acupuncture. Tai Chi works … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: SOUND THERAPY

Sound is an energy. The human body is made up of energies and therefore sound affects the body. This principle has been known for thousands of years and its health-promoting aspects have been harnessed through the use of singing, chanting and making music from instruments. Sound is our principal method of communicating and expressing, and … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: SHIATSU

Shiatsu is a combination of massage and acupressure that has derived from the Japanese use of Chinese medical philosophy. The word Shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese. Stretching meridians and manipulating acupuncture points can feed vital energy, or Qi, into organs and systems within the body to create health. The therapy is becoming increasingly popular … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ROLFING

Rolfing is a body therapy named after its founder Dr Ida Rolf, an American biochemist who suggested that many health problems are caused by poor posture. The principle of improving the body’s alignment in order to enhance well-being is not dissimilar to that of the Alexander technique, but Dr Rolf devised a complex manipulative technique … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: REFLEXOLOGY

The body has many energy lines running through it known as meridians or channels. Different parts of the body reflect these channels, which supply energy to the organs and systems. The entire body can be mapped out on pressure points on the feet. In reflexology the area of the foot that corresponds to the body … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: RADIONICS

Radionics is, like radiesthesia, a technique of healing from a distance, and the two therapies are often used in conjunction with each other. As with radiesthesia, the principle is based on a universal energy flow connecting all living things. Radionics was developed early in this century in California, but banned in the USA during the … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: RADIESTHESIA

Radiesthesia, meaning ‘the perception of radiations’, was developed by a Swiss priest, Abbe’ Alexis Mermet, at the turn of the 20th century. It is a form of dowsing at a distance for medical purposes, whereby the practitioner responds to changes in the energy field produced by patients using a pendulum and charts. The success of … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: QI GONG

The Chinese word for vital force or energy is Qi, pronounced chi. Gong means ‘working with’. Any energy therapy is therefore Qi Gong. The phrase is, however, used mostly to define a vast number of sets of movement that allow energy to flow freely through the body. The Eastern philosophies believe in meridians or channels … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PSYCHOTHERAPY

The use of conversation and discussion to illustrate, understand and sort out underlying psychological problems is a vast subject. The broad term psychotherapy is used to denote a wide variety of methods to deal with emotional problems. It covers everything and anything from counselling to psychoanalysis . There are four main branches of psychotherapy: psychoanalytic, … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY

Scientific evaluation of the components of the immune system in the bloodstream have been shown to alter in response to psychological or emotional changes. Most emotions are associated with chemicals that are released within the structure of the brain. These chemicals trigger impulses along the central nervous system that then travel out to the peripheral … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: POLARITY THERAPY

Polarity therapy is a holistic system of healing that draws on elements of both Eastern and Western medicine to promote well-being. The body is seen as made up of universal energy or Qiy which forms both the material and spiritual universe. The body is a system of energy fields which keep the life energy in … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: OXYGEN THERAPY

There is much scientific evidence to support the belief that disease may stem from poor oxygenation of cells. Oxygen therapy is about increasing the availability of oxygen to the body tissues. Pedantically, one may argue that breathing techniques and oral supplementation with antioxidants are actually oxygen treatments and one would be right. However, oxygen therapy … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: OSTEOPATHY

Osteopathy is a manipulative technique in which the bones, muscles, ligaments and nerves are restored to their proper alignment and functioning. It is probably the most widely used of the complementary therapies, and certain States in the USA consider an osteopath to have equal training to a doctor. Osteopathy was devised by an American doctor, … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ONANI

Onani is a form of medicine practised in Northern India and Pakistan. It is principally derived from Ayurvedic medicine but also includes ideas based on Greek and Arab sources. Onani differs from Ayurvedic practice in some of the medicinal herbs prescribed, and it also incorporates the therapeutic use of minerals.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NEUROTHERAPY

This form of treatment is new to the West. It is a branch of Ayurvedic medicine, utilizing all aspects of prayer/meditation, dietetics and nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes in conjunction with a specific form of therapy involving the meridians of the body. A neurotherapeutic practitioner will lay the patient on the floor and, while bearing … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING

Neuro-linguistic programming is a form of psychotherapy that was developed from the work of several well-known therapists in the 1970s. It accurately describes its principle within its own name: the nerves are affected by language and, like a computer, can reprogram the thought process. Basically, NLP reorganizes how people think and allows emotions to flow … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NATUROPATHY

Naturopathy is a broad term used to describe a multi-disciplinary approach to illness and health. Its practitioners have expertise in a variety of medical therapies, and follow many of the same principles as the Eastern approach to medicine. Ayurvedic, Chinese, Tibetan and other Eastern philosophies of medicine all share a view of life and health … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MUSIC THERAPY

The ability to appreciate and respond to music is an inborn quality in human beings. Rarely is this ability affected by handicap, injury or illness, and it is not dependent on music training. For people who find verbal communication difficult, particularly those with mental illness or physical, learning or sensory disabilities, music therapy offers a … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MUD THERAPY

Immersing oneself in mud for its medical benefits is a form of hydrotherapy . Mud contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, small amounts of which will be absorbed through otherwise impregnable skin. There is certainly external benefit and mud therapy may be useful for treating skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. The … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MEDITATION

Meditation is a way of transcending the everyday level of consciouness by emptying the mind of conscious thoughts and concerns. It involves training your awareness so that your mental processes come under conscious control. There are many forms of meditation but their goal is always to enhance physical and mental well-being. Meditation has been practised … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MASSAGE

Massage is the manipulation of the soft tissues in the body, particularly muscles, in order to promote relaxation and healing. There are many different massage techniques, and some practitioners may use or base their technique on different body therapies such as Shiatsu, Rolfing or physiotherapy, while others use a more intuitive approach. All branches of … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MARMA THERAPY

A Marma point is defined in Ayurvedic medicine as a site on the body where flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, joints and bones meet. There are 107 of these ‘vital points’ throughout the body, and it is believed that an injury to any one of them – such as a puncture wound, burn or impact injury … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MAGNETIC THERAPY

The earth has its own electromagnetic field, aligned to the poles, and the cells of the human body also have subtle magnetic forces. Conventional medicine uses electromagnetic energy in imaging equipment, harnessing this force for diagnosis, and also in order to influence the body’s own electrical currents to promote healing, particularly of fractures. Complementary therapists … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: LIGHT THERAPY

Light has a direct effect on the workings of the body and on our moods. When the sun comes out our spirits rise and we feel more energetic, while insufficient light can lead to depression and lethargy. Light is known to stimulate the pineal and pituitary glands, which correspond to the highest two chakras in … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: KIRLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY

This is high-frequency photography used to produce a photograph of the ‘aura’ of energy that surrounds a person. Semyon and Valentina Kir-lian, who discovered and developed the method for diagnostic purposes, found that photographs made using this technique showed differences in the energy field of healthy and diseased subjects. It is said that a healthy … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: KINESIOLOGY

Kinesiology is a manipulative therapy, based on diagnosing imbalances or deficiencies in nutrition or energy flow by testing the strength of muscles. Applied kinesiology was developed during the 1960s by Dr George Goodheart, an American chiropractor. He discovered that massaging the neuro-lymphatic reflexes strengthened muscles. He linked his discoveries with oriental medical ideas of the … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HYPNOTHERAPY

The word hypnosis is derived from the Greek word ‘hypnos’, meaning ‘to sleep’. It was brought into common parlance by Scottish surgeon James Braid in the 1840s. Hypnotherapy techniques were used with operative procedures before the use of anaesthetic and had developed from the theories of a Dr Mesmer from 60 years before. Hypnotherapy is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HYDROTHERAPY

Water has many properties that are poorly understood by science. It is the only natural compound that is lighter when it is solid than as a liquid . Water is also considered a universal solvent, which means that it will eventually break down any compound immersed within it. Hydrotherapy is the use of water to … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HOMEOPATHY

The term homeopathy is derived from the Greek words ‘homo’ meaning like and ‘pathy’ meaning illness. It is based on the idea that an illness which produces certain symptoms can be cured using a substance that produces the same symptoms in a healthy person. The term ‘like cures like’ explains this treatment in a simple … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HERBAL MEDICINE

There are two sides to herbal medicine. The first is the pharmaceutical aspect and the second is the innate energy within the plant itself. In the West the therapeutic use of herbs is very much based on their chemical effects, and there is much research to suggest that the pharmaceutical benefits of herbal medicines are … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HELLERWORK

This is a form of bodywork founded in the late 1970s by Joseph Heller, an engineer. Based on the ideas of Ida Rolf with whom Heller had worked closely , its purpose is to provide the individual with a sound foundation for good health by structurally realigning the body through movement and massage. It offers … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HEALING

All forms of treatment are healing, whether they are surgical, chemical or holistic therapies such as acupuncture or chiropractic. The term itself, however, describes one of the oldest forms of medicine, and means the technique of ‘the laying on of hands’ by healers who see themselves as the medium for a healing energy. Healing is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: GESTALT THERAPY

This is a form of psychological therapy that creates a strong self-awareness. It is based upon the idea that an event not experienced by both logic and emotion is not completely experienced and causes an imbalance which leads to behavioural problems. A simple example is that of a child brought up in an abusive household. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: GERSON THERAPY

Gerson therapy was developed by Max Gerson, a German who emigrated to the United States. He initially treated tuberculosis through a low-salt diet and then modified his recommendations for treatment of more chronic conditions, especially cancer. He believed that his regimes reversed the conditions that were necessary to support the growth of malignant cells. He … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: FLOTATION

The body and mind are constantly under ‘sensory attack’. In the West, especially, it is very difficult to obtain a state of sensory deprivation. We are constantly surrounded by noise, sights and smells, and we are generally touching something all the time, even if it is merely the ground through our feet or our clothes … Read more