So, what are Complementary Therapies, Alternative Therapies, Holistic Therapies, Conventional, Orthodox, Western and Allopathic medicine?
Orthodox Medicine is the treatment we receive at the GP surgery and hospital where symptoms and diseases are treated using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called allopathic, biomedicine, conventional, mainstream, and western medicine.
All orthodox treatments go through rigorous testing by law to prove that they work and are safe such as chemotherapy, heart surgery, cataract operations, medication. Some complementary and alternative therapies may not have been so rigorously tested.
Complementary Therapy is a term given to therapies that are complementary to orthodox medicine and can be used alongside orthodox medicine to help support the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms; to help with pain and discomfort and to support you through times of fear and anxiety. (see list below)
Alternative Medicine is a term given to therapies which are used as an alternative to orthodox medicine. Some are the same therapies used as complementary but are used in place of orthodox medicine.
Recommendation is always a good choice if someone has had a good experience with a friendly, professional therapist that made them feel welcome and safe. Remember that everyone is unique and a therapy a friend has recommended may not be suitable for your specific needs or effective for a specific problem you may have.
Contact a therapist by phone or email before making an appointment and ask them questions about any concerns you have.
A therapist should be able to show you their training certificates and current insurance certificate. Membership of an association is not a sign of a good therapist as most do not check qualifications and competence. There are some exceptions; Osteopaths must be registered with The General Osteopath Council; Chiropractics must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC; Physiotherapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HPCP).
A good therapist will always take your medical history before starting any work to ensure you receive a safe and effective treatment for your specific needs. Therefore, please be truthful about your current and previous health especially if you have allergies are currently on medication, having tests or are receiving other orthodox or complementary treatments.
Conditions that may affect your suitability for a specific treatment would include: medication, recent surgery, heart conditions, thrombosis, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, osteoporosis, pregnancy, arthritis, skin conditions, chronic illness such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Fibromyalgia.
Conditions that would prevent you from having a treatment would include: fever, contagious or infectious disease, under the influence of recreational drugs or alcohol.
Children aged 16 and under and adults who have learning difficulties or are deemed vulnerable must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
If you are looking for a quick fix you will likely be disappointed. Acute conditions, problems that you have only had for a couple of days may be improved in one or two treatments. The longer you have had the problem, the longer it will likely take to see improvement as there will be more than just the initial injury to heal.
If you have a chronic injury/condition, then between 3 – 6 treatments over 4 – 12 weeks will allow you and the therapist to see how effective the treatment is. In many cases, 3 treatments will see a change in your condition with regards to; flexibility, mobility, balance and pain. Please note that some diseases/conditions cannot be improved through therapy but will improve your general health and comfort.
Quick reference to Complementary Therapies (this list is not exhaustive)
Acupuncture – use of fine needles on energy lines – most injuries and conditions.
Bowen – relaxing – small gentle movements on specific body areas – muscular and soft tissue injuries/conditions.
Chiropractic – manual manipulation – structural, joints and spine injuries/conditions.
CranioSacral Therapy – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle touch on body areas – most injuries and conditions.
Herbal medicine – advice and use of plants to help improve health.
Homeopathy – advice and use of plants to help improve health.
Hypnotherapy – talking therapy – mental and emotional issues – fears and habits.
Kinesiology – relaxing, remain dressed – muscle testing – most injuries and conditions.
Manual lymphatic drainage massage – relaxing – light massage of lymphatic system – overall good health, specifically water retention, oedema, inflammation, scarring, detox.
Massage – Face – relaxing, remain dressed – improve skin tone/condition, slows ageing process.
Massage – Foot/hand – relaxing/invigorating, remain dressed – massage feet and calves/hand and arm – muscular/soft tissue, overall good health.
Massage – Holistic/swedish/aromatherapy – relaxing – muscular and soft tissue injuries/conditions, during pregnancy.
Massage – Sports/deep tissue – can cause discomfort – sports injuries, chronic and acute pain, reduced flexibility and mobility.
Myofascial Release – relaxing – gentle pressure on specific body areas – muscular and soft tissue injuries/conditions.
Nutrition – advice on diet for weight control, chronic and acute illness, general good health.
Osteopathy – manual manipulation, massage and stretching – muscular and skeletal injuries/conditions.
Reflexology – relaxing, remain dressed – massage of reflex points on the feet – most injuries and conditions
Reiki – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle hands on energy healing – supports the body’s natural healing process.
Shiatsu – invigorating, remain dressed – massage energy points – acute and chronic injuries, aches and pains.
Tai chi/qi gong – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle exercise for good overall health and relaxation.
Yoga – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle exercise for good overall health and relaxation.
Dawn Bradley – Holistic Complementary Therapist Copthorne Therapies – www.energise-me.co.uk