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With more and more of us turning to alternative therapies to solve a variety of health problems, we look at some of the choices here in Kent
Some people swear by alternative therapies as a solution to health problems, some turn to them after becoming disillusioned with conventional medicine, while others prefer them over more traditional methods.
Figures released in America recently show that 38 million adults are making 300 million visits to therapists every year.
This is used to treat a variety of ailments, from hay fever to premenstrual syndrome.
It works on the principle of treating conditions with highly diluted substances known as remedies which trigger the bodys natural healing system.
Suzy Cain practices in Chatham, Gravesend, Dartford, Greenhithe, Longfield and Welling. Homeopathy, like some other alternative therapies, treats the person as a whole, and can deal with a range of conditions, she explains.
"In this day and age alternative therapies are so valuable because were all running around balancing home and work. Alternative therapies can help the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of a person, keeping energies up and dealing with physical complaints as well."
This also treats the whole person, body and mind, rather than just symptoms, and is based on ancient principles which go back 2,000 years. It aims to restore the bodys equilibrium by enabling energy, or Qi, to flow freely and involves the use of very fine, single-use, pre-sterilised needles to stimulate specific acupuncture points on the body.
Stephen Bayliss, an acupuncturist and psychologist who practices in Folkestone and Hythe, says many more people are turning to acupuncture after realising its emotional and spiritual benefits, and for conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as physical conditions.
Stephen says people should not be afraid of alternative medicine, and should try acupuncture even if theyre not entirely comfortable with needles as the procedure is not painful.
This works with the structure of the body and on the principle that the wellbeing of a person depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues being aligned to function smoothly together.
Using touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage it can help back pain, repetitive strain injury, changes to posture in pregnancy, arthritis and sports injuries. And cranial osteopathy is so gentle that it can be used on babies.
Ali Usher turned to alternative therapies when pregnant with her son Alfie, now aged three. Keen to give birth on time as she was only taking six weeks maternity leave, Ali, from Meopham, received cranial osteopathy. It was so gentle she felt a little sceptical about whether it would work but, as predicted by the osteopath Graham Mason of Chatham, she went into labour within days.
When Alfie was just four days old, she took him back for cranial osteopathy as she was concerned about his misshapen head and distorted palate. Ali has also used homeopathic remedies for herself and Alfie, even for reducing fever, and husband Scotts asthmatic hay fever saw great improved with homeopathic help.
GET IN TOUCH
Homeopath Suzy Cain: 01322 387 665
Osteopath Graham Mason: 01634 842 583
Acupuncturist Stephen Bayliss: 01303 253 304