‘Alternative medicine/therapies’ or should we rename them ‘original medicine/therapies’?

In todays world there are many alternative therapies that can be used along side conventional medicine, I have already discussed reflexology and massage but there are many more which I have decided to talk about in this blog.

The term ‘alternative therapy/medicine’ is used a lot in todays society but the majority of the therapies described below predate what we call ‘conventional medicine’ so should we be using the term ‘original therapy/medicine’ instead?


Homeopathy is a system of medicines which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body`s natural system of healing. Based on their specific symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness and agitation, so according to theories used by homeopaths when made into homeopathic remedy Coffea, it can be used to treat people with these symptoms. This concept is sometimes used in convention medicine, for example, the stimulant Ritalin is used to treat patients with ADHD, or small doses of allergens such as pollens are sometimes used to de-sensitise allergic patients.


Reiki developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. It uses a technique commonly called `palm healing` as a form of complementary and alternative medicine. Through the use of this technique, practioners claim to transfer healing energy in the form of ki through the palms.


Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The word yoga means ` union` meaning union between mind, body and spirit. It includes a system of exercise to promote control of mind and body and also breathing and meditation to promote healing in the mind and spirit.


This therapy treats patients by insertion and manipulation of needles in the body. Practioners claim that it relieves pain, treats infertility, treats and prevents diseases and promotes general health. Traditional Acupuncture was developed prior to the understanding of human anatomy so it was believed that disease was an imbalance of ying and yang caused by a `blockage` or `stagnation` of metaphysical energy known as `qi`. By inserting ultra fine needles into specific acupuncture points a therapist seeks to re-establish the free flow of `qi` to restore balance and trigger the body’s natural healing response.


Shiatsu is a Japanese word meaning `finger pressure`. It is a new name for the oldest form of medicine – healing hands. It is suggested everybody has the healing power of touch and responds to touch. Shiatsu uses hand pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and its natural inner energies, to help ward off illness and maintain good health.


Dr Bach recognised through his work with his patients that to bring about real and lasting healing it was necessary to treat the cause of the illness rather than just the symptoms. He believed that the true cause of illness and disease in human beings lies in the personality- in the mental and emotional patterns through which we view ourselves and the world around us. To treat these personality patterns he discovered and developed 38 different flower remedies which have today become known as Bach Flower Remedies. Each remedy is a correcting vibration for a state of mind or emotion that needs to be gently rebalanced. Since the body is a direct reflection of the mind, transforming negative vibrations into positive good vibrations allows the body to respond naturally with better health.


Kinesiology also known as human kinetics is the science of human movement; it is the study of muscle and body movement. Health Kinesiology is a bio energetic system that monitors muscle movement on order to ascertain information that will allow the therapist to reach a course of action to bring about a positive change. The therapist locates disturbed energy flow and by using individual techniques along with acupressure restores the bodies balance.


The Bowen Technique is a soft tissue remedial therapy, named after its innovator Tom Bowen. The technique involves the therapist using fingers and thumbs to move over muscle, ligaments and fascia in various parts of the body. The work is very subtle, relaxing and gentle involving no hard or prolonged pressure. A feature of the work is that between sets of moves the therapist will leave the room and allow the client to rest. This is a key element of Bowen and is a defining aspect of the technique as well as being one of the most important. The breaks allow the body the opportunity to create a decision about what action needs to be taken in response to the move given.


The Alexander Technique is a way of learning how to get rid of harmful tension in the body, by changing movement’s habits in our everyday activities. It is simple and practical method of improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The therapist educates and guides the client so they can improve posture and movement through specialised contact and verbal instruction.


Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine. The scope of herbal medicine sometimes extends to include fungal and bee products as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts. The natural chemical properties of certain herbs have been shown to contain medicinal value, herbalists use the `whole` herb or plant rather than isolating and breaking down chemical compounds and then synthesing it. This is because the plant, being part of Nature, is said to represent perfect balance; healing requires the natural combination of elements in the plant or herb, not just a single chemical within it.


Chiropractic specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, especially related to the spine. The treatment mainly involves safe, often gentle, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Apart from manipulation, therapists may use a variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound, exercise and acupuncture as well as advice about posture and lifestyle.


Iridology is the study of the `Iris` of the eye – exposed nerve endings which make up the coloured part of the eye, each of which are connected to the brain. A trained Iridologist sees the exposed nerve endings as a `map` revealing information about the body’s genetic strength and weaknesses, levels of inflammation and toxaemia and the efficiency of the eliminative systems and organs. With this information they are able to advise clients about adjusting their life.


Acupressure is an ancient healing art using the fingers to gradually press key healing points, which stimulate the body`s natural self-curative abilities. Acupressure was developed in Asia over 5000 years ago. Using the power and sensitivity of the hand, Acupressure Therapy is effective in the relief of stress-related ailments, and is ideal for self-treatment and preventive health care for boosting the immune system. Acupressure releases tension, increases circulation, reduces pain, and develops spirituality and vibrant health. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same pressure points and meridians but Acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure not needles.


The word Ayuveda comes from two Sanskrit words – Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. This traditional Indian life science is the oldest form of medicine known to man, its guiding principles are said to have been handed down from Hindu gods, and written text dates back over 3500 years. Ayuvedic medicine is a complete healthcare system and involves detoxification, diet, exercise, use of herbs and techniques to improve mental and emotional health. Your individual constitution and how it relates to your energies is the key to understanding Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed that the body has 3 vital energies and when they are not balanced this leads to ill health.


Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person’s mind, mood, cognitive function or health. When using essential oils correctly the soothing combination of the aromas through gentle massage, aromatic baths etc all work to regulate, balance, heal and maintain your entire being by working with nature not against it.


Osteopathic treatment does not target symptoms only but treats the parts of the body that have caused the symptoms. Osteopaths have a holistic approach and believe that the whole body will work well if your body is in good structural balance. A wide range of techniques are used including massage, cranial techniques (sometimes referred to as cranial osteopathy) and joint mobilization and this breadth of approach allows us to focus on every patients precise needs.


This massage is also known as Champissage. The head, neck and face are massaged with the purpose of manipulating energy channels. The goal is to clear blocks in these energy channels that cause a build up of negative energy that are purported to cause ailments. The belief is when energy does not flow properly, negative energy builds up, causing common ailments including stress, pain, aches etc.


Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body. The use of hot stones for healing dates back to ancient times. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure if desired. The warmth of the stone improves circulation and calms the nervous system. Some therapists place stones on points that are thought to be energy centres of the body to rebalance the body and mind.


Crystal therapy is the belief that certain crystals and other charm stones have healing, mystical and/or paranormal powers. Crystal healers claim that every living organism has a `vibrational energy system` which includes chakras, electromagnetic fields around your body known as an `aura`, subtle bodies and meridians. By using the appropriate crystals one can allegedly `tune` and energy system or rebalance energies, thus improving well-being due to vibrations produced by the crystals, according to colour, chemical composition, atomic structure and overall physical form. Using the vibrations of the crystal a trained therapist can allegedly move, absorb focus, direct and diffuse energy within the body, using the perfect structure of the crystal for the body to emulate. Crystal healing also allegedly gives the body a chance to relax, which may aid in the body’s natural abilities of the immune system.


High quality ear candles handmade from beeswax and unbleached cotton cloths about 9-12 inches long are placed in the ear. They burn for about 10 minutes and through a process called `convection` softer wax and toxins are drawn out of the ear, oxidized and turned into vapour. Many people feel ear candling cleanses the ear canal and sinus passages. The medical profession do not recommend this alternative treatment.


Colour therapists see colour simply as light of varying wavelengths, thus each colour has its own particular wavelength and energy. The energy relating to each of the seven spectrum colours of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet resonates with the energy of each of the seven main chakras/energy centre of the body. Therapists believe that good health and wellbeing is achieved by a balance of all these energies and that colour therapy can help to re-balance and/or stimulate these energies by applying the appropriate colour to the body and therefore re-balance the body. Colour is absorbed by the eyes, skin, skull our `magnetic energy field` or aura and the energy of colour affects us on all levels. There are many different ways of giving colour including solarised water, light boxes/lamps with colour filters, colour silks, and hands on healing using colour.