There are so many different forms of natural therapy nowadays – as I found out when I began my personal journey of discovery. Some are ancient, some new. What they have in common is that they use no synthetic drugs or surgery.
Drugs and surgery are the tools of western allopathic medicine. Natural therapies can be used to complement these or as an alternative – which is why it’s called complementary and alternative medicine.
Western medicine tends to treat symptoms. Practitioners of any natural therapy generally have a holistic view of health and disease – they treat the whole person, not just one set of symptoms.
An initial consultation could take one or two hours – very different from the 7 minute average with a G.P.! The practitioner will want to know your full medical history, as well as every present symptom; no matter how unrelated it seems to the main complaint.
The purpose of natural medicine is to restore you to full health, not just suppress your worst symptoms. When you are really well, you stay well. After a course of treatments of a natural therapy, you’re less likely to get any illness again.
For instance, the orthodox view of infections is that they are caused by something from outside, like a virus or bacteria, but the holistic view is that the cause is the patient’s lack of resistance. By strengthening your immune system you not only cure the present infection, but also reduce the chance of future infection.
Many therapists view illness as being caused by an imbalance or block in the patient. By restoring the balance, freeing the blockage, you allow the body to heal itself.
Sometimes these imbalances and blocks can be easily measured – e.g. blood pH, or an obstruction in the flow of blood or lymph.
Osteopaths manipulate joints to encourage the circulation of blood; chiropractors use similar techniques to release blockages in nerves.
Alexander Technique and Pilates teach good posture and movement habits. This means that blood, lymph and energy circulates freely, allowing your body to work at its best.
Massage also encourages circulation of blood and lymph, and is a great aid to relaxation. Massage is becoming increasingly popular as a remedy for stress, and as a boost to well-being.
Other natural therapies work on the flow of energy. This is harder to see, but no less valid. Scientists are only just learning to measure the body’s energy. For instance, it is now possible to detect acupuncture meridians electronically.
Reflexology is another natural health therapy that works on body energy.
On the other hand, Homeopathy, Biochemic tissue salts and Bach flower remedies use the vibrational energy of the remedy to correct imbalances in the patient. These often affect the patient’s emotional state before the physical.
- Alexander technique
- Bach flower remedies
- Biochemic tissue salts
- Shiatsu and Acupressure
These are all valid forms of complementary and alternative medicine. Which one is best for you depends on your circumstances at the moment. Find out more about acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbalism, osteopathy.
Find out more about different types of massage.
Any natural therapy can help to restore you to full health, but don’t forget the importance of a good diet in keeping healthy.