Acupuncture to Ayurveda: A-Z of complementary medicine
Discover the benefits of complementary medicine with our indispensable A-Z
Used in China for thousands of years, acupuncture involves ultra fine needles being inserted into specific points - acupoints' - on the body to rebalance the circulation of life energy, or chi', flowing through channels known as meridians'. The theory is that disruption of chi can cause illness and that by stimulating or suppressing the flow of chi it's possible to treat specific ailments and promote health. Mounting evidence supports the use of acupuncture for a wide range of conditions, including pain relief, menstrual problems, migraine and high blood pressure. To find a practitioner or for more information, call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit www.acupuncture.org.uk
Acupressure is acupuncture without needles - finger pressure is used on specific acupoints' on the body to promote well-being and treat ailments, including arthritis, headaches, digestive problems and stress. To find a practitioner or for more information, call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit www.acupuncture.org.uk.
Developed by an Australian actor in the late 19th century, the aim of the Alexander Technique is to improve posture, and so allow the body to move naturally, and without tension - as in childhood. The technique involves abandoning postural bad habits and retraining the body to move, sit and stand in a relaxed way. Various studies have shown its success in treating back pain, but it's also used for treating stress, depression, headaches and digestive disorders. To find a teacher in your area, visit the website of The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique on www.stat.org.uk or call 0845 230 7828.
Massage with aromatic oils is an ancient practice, but modern aromatherapy stems from the work of a French chemist in the1930s. Essential plant oils - extracted from the flowers, roots, leaves and stalks of plants - are absorbed into the body, either through the pores of the skin or through inhalation, to influence emotional well-being. Aromatherapy is commonly used for stress-related conditions, including insomnia, and for an array of other ailments, such as eczema, cystitis and menstrual problems. (Oils should never be used undiluted or taken internally unless with expert supervision.) For more information, or to find a therapist, contact the Aromatherapy Consortium at www.aromatherapy-regulation.org.uk or call 0870 774 3477.
Used for centuries on the Indian sub-continent, ayuverda is a holistic system of healing which aims to promote physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through a variety of means. These include diet, yoga, herbal remedies and breathing techniques. For more information, contact the Ayurvedic Medical Association UK on: 020 8682 3876.
A-Z of complementary medicine:
These natural remedies are intended to be complementary therapies only and should not be interpreted as substitutes for conventional medicines. For specific health problems, please see your GP. For more information on conventional medicines, visit www.netdoctor.co.uk