Complementary and Alternative Medicine

“Hi Rose, if you can put together some info on reflexology, Indian Head
Massage, Reike and Aromatherapy, then I am happy to add a new page on my
website giving people information about them and how they can in general
terms help sufferers relax and in turn aid the recovery process by
de-stressing daily life. Unfortunately I cannot put testimonials on about
specific people as this may give people the wrong message as they all work
or not in every case.”

This is a new section which I have sought advice about from Rose McMurray who is a practicing therapist and who wanted to put a piece on my website guestbook. This has been done with the overriding caveat of my own personal pledge to everyone who uses my website or has or who will ever contact me as follows:

“I do not link my website to fee paying organisations or indeed any medical organisation that I have no control over outcome and thus would be implicated as endorsing just by the link itself. This is a policy that I started from the very beginning along with never allowing journalists or medical people to canvas or advertise for clients on my website either. I take the privacy of anyone who contacts me and the integrity of my website very seriously and I am sorry but I will not budge on that. In addition there is the issue of Trust. It takes people who suffer from PTSD a lot to trust someone with their inner most secrets and nightmares and I would never break that trust by giving any personal details to any third party either.”

As a result Rose has sent me the following information which I have added to in certain places with my own personal experience (or not as the case may be) and also added some web links to professional websites where you could get some independent information about both complementary therapies and those that practice them.

I hope you find this a useful addition to my website? I am always looking at ways to improve the website and open to ideas as long as they do not conflict my principles of advice without personal claims that I cannot endorse…

There has been a tendency until quite recently to divorce disorders of the mind from those of the body and treat them separately. Complementary and alternative medicine ( CAM ) – for example, Reflexology, Indian head massage, Aromatherapy and Reiki therapy, among a host of others – works by treating mind and body as one unit, holistically.

In the mainstream

There have been stirrings recently in mainstream medicine leading towards the same point with the introduction of the newly defined area of psychoneuroimmunology. There are many studies under way in various parts of the world in this discipline. CAM already works alongside mainstream medicine in the field of palliative care, in the hospice setting and in hospital oncology wards.

We want to be well…

It is important to realise that there is an inner order to the human system known as homeostasis, or balance. There is an enormous inner drive toward health and well-being and the system will work hard and efficiently to achieve this balance if the right buttons are pressed. If you cut yourself, the body starts work immediately to heal the cut. PTSD sufferers have often received trauma to the mind via the body, so it makes sense to treat the disorder by treating mind and body as one. CAM therapies help initially to relax the system so that homeostasis is allowed to take place.

Touch

‘Touch therapies’ are known to be effective. Why? We are all surrounded by and filled with electromagnetic energy – the stuff that created us in the first place – and a touch, gently and professionally given, can take the place of a thousand words by conveying silently the ‘intention’ of the practitioner to help the client.

Each of the following therapies takes about an hour, with a longer initial session to allow for a medical history to be recorded:

Reflexology

The body is “mapped” on the feet. A Reflexologists applies rotating movements, direct pressure and massage systematically over the whole foot, top and bottom. The reflexes on the foot correspond with every part of the human system. You would find that the treatment is not ticklish, it is most relaxing, yet it works hard to de-tox and re-order the system by clearing energy imbalance.

** This is probable my favourite of all alternative therapies and I have personally found it to completely relax me and the effects can last several days. Certainly the very first time I had reflexology I slept for about 18 hours that nigh into the following day it relaxed me so much and that was at a point in my life when I would maybe get a few hours sleep at night (if any sometimes).

** I have put a link here for the Association of Reflexologists http://www.reflexology.org/ who produce a list of Reflexologists across the UK and also gives you more info.

Aromatherapy

This is a system of massage therapy that uses essential oils carefully chosen by the practitioner according to the state of mind of the client. These are not ‘oils’ in the sense we normally think of them but rather the extracted essence of plants. As with all massage and touch therapy, you can achieve a remarkable state of relaxation with an aromatherapy massage. If the practitioner offers some form of healing therapy in addition, you would receive the benefit of healing during the massage.

** Rose here talks about Aromatherapy massage. I have never experienced a massage partly due to a back problem I am very cautious about, but I have used Aromatherapy itself by burning oils to create a relaxing environment which by using different oils (which can be best found via trial and error) can help with sleep (lavender oil) or uplifting (Orange oil) & Relaxing (Liang Liang). These can be used in any combination and as I say the best way to know which ones work for you is to try them out.

** I have put a link here for the Aromatherapy Council http://www.aromatherapycouncil.co.uk/ who produce a list of aromatherapists across the UK and also gives you more info.

Indian Head Massage

There are different types of head massage, including champissage – the original form of head massage practised in India for many generations – but they should all include a series of movements applied to the head, neck and shoulders, to defuse tension and offer relief from stress and seek to rebalance the entire system via the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). This massage takes approximately half an hour to complete.

** Again I have had several Indian Head Massages from different practitioners and they were all different, some of which I found helped others I really did not like at all. The bottom line here is to find a therapy that you like, one that words for you and a practitioner that you feel comfortable with.

Reiki therapy

A Reiki therapist applies a series of hand movements to, or over, the body of the client who is lying on a massage couch or, if preferred, seated in a chair. Reiki works by channelling the energy that is required by the client through the energy centres, or ‘chakras’, which are distributed throughout that energy field. The energy enters via the electromagnetic field of the channeller into that of the client. It is usually the most intensely relaxing experience and can be used alongside any of the other therapies mentioned above. A series of treatments can benefit long-standing disorders. If the client is open-minded to this therapy, it can achieve remarkable results.

http://www.reikifed.co.uk/index.shtml

** I have never tried or ever come into contact with a Reiki therapist so I am afraid I cannot comment about this. My only advice would be to listen to others who have experienced it and then maybe just try a one-off session (these can sometimes be at discounted rates). If it works for you then great and carry on if not then that is OK too as you must remember that although these therapies do work for some people they equally do-not work for many others.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

EFT is based on a new discovery regarding the body’s subtle energies. Simply stated, it is an emotional version of acupuncture, except needles aren’t necessary. Instead, you stimulate well established energy meridian points on your body by tapping on them with your fingertips.

In a statement from a Practitioners “EFT combines acupressure and psychological restructuring, and the results are very similar to those obtained through EMDR, even though there has not been enough research undertaken to prove it’s effectiveness. I use CBT as well as other less conventional modalities in my own practice, but find that EFT greatly enhances the effectiveness of treatment, and it is also a more gentle approach (in experienced hands!) so that the treatment is less distressing than the standard cognitive behavioural techniques.”

“There is lots of free info on the main EFT website www.emofree.com, including examples of EFT applications for trauma and PTSD (even though the claims made on the website may sound over-hyped, e.g. that it is a “universal healing aid”, in my experience this is only a slight exaggeration)”

You can view registered practitioners and their qualification etc. at the following website www.aamet.org.

http://www.emofree.com/

** As with Reiki Therapy I have never tried or come into contact with EFT but have had a lot of emails asking me to add this to the CAM page so on the balance of fairness I have now done this. I would advice anyone who is preparing to try any new treatment is to either find someone who has been treated with it and talk to them about their experience or ask for a free initial session to see if it works for you before you commit yourself to what could be an expensive series of sessions which may have no benefit whatsoever.

Counselling and Psychotherapy

www.bacp.co.uk

“I do not allow any one business or individual to advertise or tout for clients via my website and although I have had many counsellors contact me it has been difficult to find a single national body that you could use for you to find a qualified and registered counsellor in your area.”

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is the largest and broadest body within the sector. Through its work BACP ensures that it meets its remit of public protection whilst also developing and informing its members.

BACP Client Information Helpdesk

This is a service which will enable potential clients to find a suitable counsellor with whom they feel comfortable, in their particular area.

  • They seek to remove the anxiety that may be associated with choosing a counsellor.
  • They are happy to discuss any queries or concerns which may arise whilst choosing a counsellor or during the counselling process.
Telephone:

01455 883316

The Registered Office is open Monday-Friday, from 8.45am until 5pm

Telephone:

General Enquiries: 01455 883300
Text: 01455 550243

Mailing address:

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy BACP House
15 St John’s Business Park
Lutterworth
Leicestershire
LE17 4HB
United Kingdom

Email:

bacp@bacp.co.uk

Website:

www.bacp.co.uk

Registered Charity 298361, VAT Registration 443 854 436
Company limited by guarantee 2175320 registered in England & Wales

Hypnotherapy

http://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk

The purpose of the site is ultimately to provide the UK with a huge hypnotherapy support network, enabling those in distress to find a hypnotherapist close to them and appropriate for their needs. This is a free, confidential service that will provide those seeking support with all the information they need. Every hypnotherapist on the site who has submitted their profile has either sent a copy of their qualifications and insurance cover to us, or is registered with a professional body with recognised codes of ethics and practice, this way we can be assured of their professionalism.

http://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk/articles/ptsd.html

This section has some very good information about PTSD.

Obviously I cannot recommend hypnotherapy as I have never tried it but I do understand that some people do get benefit from this.  Always remember that not all therapies and/or treatments work for everyone and always make sure the people who you go to are fully qualified professionals and if possible get personal recommendations from some of their other clients.  If all else fails google them to see what other people think.

The Mindfulness of Breathing

As its name implies, the ‘Mindfulness of Breathing’ uses the breath as an object of concentration. By focusing on the breath one becomes aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another. The simple discipline of concentration brings one back to the present moment and all the richness of experience that it contains. It is a way to develop mindfulness, the faculty of alert and sensitive awareness. And it is an excellent method for cultivating the states of intense meditative absorption known as dhyana. As well as this, the mindfulness of breathing is a good antidote to restlessness and anxiety, and a good way to relax: concentration on the breath has a positive effect on one’s entire physical and mental state.

The meditation has four progressive stages leading to a highly enjoyable level of concentration. To start with five minutes per stage is a good period of practice.

  • In the first stage you use counting to stay focused on the breath. After the out-breath you count one, then you breathe in and out and count two, and so on up to ten, and then you start again at one.
  • In the second stage you subtly shift where you breathe, counting before the in-breath, anticipating the breath that is coming, but still counting from one to ten, and then starting again at one.
  • In the third stage you drop the counting and just watch the breath as it comes in and goes out.
  • In the final stage the focus of concentration narrows and sharpens, so you pay attention to the subtle sensation on the tip of the nose where the breath first enters and last leaves the body.

You can find out more about meditation and other techniques taught for centuries in Buddhism at the following website http://www.fwbo.org/index.html You do not have to be a practicing Buddhist to appreciate some of their teachings and there are some good pages on meditation etc. here too http://www.fwbo.org/meditation.html.

A quote from a friend who emailed me about this reads… “I just want to emphasize that while this is a Buddhist thing you don’t need any kind of ideological leanings towards Buddhism or any kind of eastern thought. Mindfulness of breathing can just be treated as a relaxation/concentration practice.”

It is not for everyone and I am not saying we all need to change our religion or beliefs, in this section I put alternative therapies out for you all to read and make your own mind up as to whether you want to try any of them or not. Many of these I have not tried but people who have emailed me have and asked for me to let you all see that there is more out there than conventional medication alone.

As always though please be careful as to what you choose and check that any therapy is practiced by a qualified person and you understand any costs involved before you start any new treatment. If possible talk to others who have also tried these therapies to get first hand feedback too.

How to find a therapist

In one-on-one touch therapies, it is important to choose a therapist with care in order to get the best result for yourself. Practitioners often display their qualifications in their treatment rooms, and should at least be able to offer them for inspection if asked. Word of mouth is often the best route. Some practitioners have trained in the oldest traditional schools, some have done a one-year part-time course in a local further education college and then expanded their experience via practice and by taking additional courses with other professionals. One route is not better than another – the integrity of the individual therapist is the important thing and you should also follow your instinct.

CAM is seeking integration with mainstream medicine by voluntary self-regulation, working with bodies such as the The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health

http://www.fih.org.uk/

Cost?

CAM professionals have to charge for their services. Some are covered, at least in part, by medical insurance (e.g. the already more mainstream therapies of chiropractice / osteopathy, acupuncture and sometimes homeopathy) and it is worth an enquiry to see if you could be helped to pay for the therapy you would like to have. It is advisable to go for one treatment first, and then if you feel you have made the right choice, pay for a course which will often be available at a reduced rate, of weekly treatments for a set length of time to give yourself the best chance to achieve a result. Treatments outside London for any of the therapies described range from as little as £15 to £35 and are set by the practitioner according to criteria like local demand, length of treatment, etc. Set that cost against the possibility of a life-enhancing result from treatment and you may think it worth your while.

** Cost is a real issue for most people and as I have said earlier look for special introductory deals and find someone who you feel comfortable with. This may mean trying different people either in clinics (in my experience these are more geared towards women and I felt particularly un-welcomed) or in a ‘at home service’. These are great gift ideas for people but the bottom line is that not all therapies will work for everyone, and those that do work will also work differently for everyone as well.

“I hope you all find this section helpful? If you would like information about other alternative therapies, please let me know and I will look into them and add them to this section as I continue to enhance my website for you all.”

Andy

Comments are closed.