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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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’,…

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…