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

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: FENGSHUI

The Eastern philosophies, but particularly the Chinese and Japanese, believe strongly that the universe is connected through immeasurable energy. This Qi emanates from all living organisms and permeates all matter. The forces of the universe, the movement of water, light, wind and everything else in the natural world – all these things have an energy … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: FELDENKRAIS METHOD

Moshe Feldenkrais was a Russian physicist and engineer who came to England in 1940. He theorized that from infancy our brain develops patterns of movement. Bad posture or gait in a parent could therefore be passed on to a child, and this incorrect structure can have an effect on the neurological and muscular systems. His … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ENZYME-POTENTIATED DESENSITIZATION

Those doctors who practise enzyme-potentiated desensitization would probably be surprised at my putting this treatment into a section on alternative therapies. I do so simply because at the time of writing this is not a well-established therapy, even though the first treatments were carried out at St Mary’s Hospital Allergy Clinic in Oxford, UK, in … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: DOWSING

Dowsing is the use of an instrument, be it pendulum, rods or a fork-shaped stick, that picks up some presently immeasurable energy. At the end of the nineteenth century it was realized that, if dowsers can locate the sites of water, metal and other substances under the ground, then they ought to be able to … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: DANCE THERAPY

We are all aware of how body movements can relate concepts and express feelings. When trying to communicate with a speaker of another language, for example, sign language and gestures are invaluable. Eastern cultures, especially the Indian and Balinese cultures, integrate movement and dance very much more than the West into their lifestyle. Most tribal … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CRYSTAL AND GEM THERAPY

The ancient belief that certain stones and crystals have healing properties has been held by many cultures. For example, the American Indians were given special stones at birth which were thought to have particular powers. We now know that all objects have a vibrational action: the electrons in the most ‘dead’ of substances are vibrating … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY

Craniosacral therapy, effectively a branch of osteopathy , supports the view that the skull bones are not completely fused and immobile. Whereas the orthodox world considers the only mobile joints involving the skull to be at the point where the cranium attaches to the spinal column and at the jaw, this is in fact not … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: COLOUR THERAPY

Colours affect the mood and emotions, and can therefore influence health. Many studies have shown that colour can have a profound effect on the function of brain waves and on the levels of circulating stress hormones such as adrenaline and Cortisol. Colour therapists use colour or coloured light to treat illness. At a simple level, … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: COLONIC IRRIGATION AND ENEMAS

Colonic irrigation, also known as colonic hydrotherapy, is becoming an increasingly popular technique for clearing out the bowel. Water is passed through a tube into the bowel via the rectum, and used to flush out the bowel contents. Most people report feeling distinctly refreshed and more energetic after having the procedure. The principle is that … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CLINICAL ECOLOGY

Clinical ecology, also called environmental medicine, developed from research into allergies in the early 20th century. I believe that it was Hippocrates in the 5th century BC who suggested ‘let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’. Most practitioners of holistic medicine would agree that the bulk of our ill-health stems from that … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CHIROPRACTIC

Chiropractic, derived from the Greek words ‘kheir’ and ‘praktikos’ , is a manipulative technique which corrects the alignment of the bones of the spine in order to treat a wide range of health problems. By adjusting the position of the spinal bones and joints, and thereby the muscles and nerves attached to them, mobility is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CHINESE AND ORIENTAL MEDICINE

The ancient traditions of Eastern medicine have developed over many centuries. While there are differences between them in terms of methods of diagnosis and treatment, they all have the same basic philosophy. This has its foundation in a belief that the body is controlled by energy, and not by anatomy or physiology as it is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CHELATION THERAPY

Chelation is the bonding together of a toxin, usually a metal, into another molecule. Nature has many compounds that chelate, but chelation therapy uses a chemical called ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid . This is used to remove heavy metals and toxins from the bloodstream. This compound, given by intravenous drip, is used in the orthodox world to … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BUTEYKO THERAPY

A scientist in Russia by the name of K P Buteyko has spent his life showing that breathing can alter the acid/alkaline levels in the bloodstream by adjusting the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. In principle, hyperventilation causes a depletion of carbon dioxide . Low levels of C02 cause blood vessels to spasm and tissues … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BIOFEEDBACK

Biofeedback is a method of monitoring minute changes in bodily functioning by means of various small electronic machines. The machines are attached to an individual via electrodes and may be used to measure heart rate, brain-wave patterns, body temperature or respiratory rate. This information – about the autonomic nervous system -shows the level of relaxation … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY

This is one of the four main branches of psychotherapy . Sometimes known as stimulus/response psychology, the behavioural approach is based on ‘learning theory’ which grew out of research with animals. Basing his work on Pavlov’s earlier studies of conditioned reflexes in dogs, the American psychologist B F Skinner made further studies of animal behaviour … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BATES METHOD FOR EYES

The Bates method of eyesight training, named after Dr W H Bates, an eye specialist of New York, is a natural way of improving and maintaining eyesight using particular exercises to relearn proper habits of vision. Dr Bates published his bestseller, Better Eyesight without Glasses, detailing these exercises, in 1919. He argued that perfect vision … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BACH FLOWER REMEDIES

These are herbal remedies derived from flowers. They promote healing by reducing negative states of mind, seen as the cause of disease, and increasing positive emotions. Physical problems are thought to derive from a mind/body energy imbalance that nature can correct through its effects on plants when they are taken in the right combination. The … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AYURVEDA

Ayurveda is a word derived from one of the oldest known languages, Sanskrit, and means the ‘knowledge of daily living’. There is mention of Ayurveda in the Vedas, the world’s oldest literature, which suggests that this healing system has been practised for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda considers human beings to be part of the ‘whole’, … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AUTOGENIC TRAINING

The word ‘autogenic’ is derived from the Greek for ‘coming from within’ and is principally a self-relaxation/hypnosis technique. Devised in Berlin by Dr J Schultz in the 1920s, the training consists of learning a set of six simple exercises designed to induce deep relaxation and thereby promote self-healing. The exercises include the repetition of certain … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ART THERAPY

A branch of psychotherapy , art therapy is used as a means of understanding emotional and psychological problems and gaining release from them. People know intuitively that creative self-expression is a way of healing oneself, and artistic expression is one such way of doing so. No artistic skill is needed, but through the creative process … Read more