A-Z of Alternative Therapies Part 2

Iridology

Practitioners look into the iris of the eye to detect health problems throughout the entire body. Disease can show up on the iris as spots, flecks or dark streaks. Texture and colour indicate the individual’s general state of health. Generally speaking the upper organs, including the brain, are at the top of the iris, and the lower organs are at the bottom. Practitioners either examine the eye with a magnifying glass or take photographs, which are then analysed. This is a diagnostic method, not a treatment.
Iridology and Holistic Health College: 0207 821 0255 or visit www.gni-international.org

 Kiradjee Massage

This is a combination of deep tissue massage and Aboriginal spriritual healing. The session starts with a 20-minute introductory back neck and scalp massage, done in a ritualistic way. “This sets the tone for the treatment and enables the therapist to go into a liquid dreamlike state and massage with their body and soul, not just their hands,” explains John Odel, the founder of Kiradjee. The therapy also uses mirroring, and the client mirrors the therapist’s breathing and even their heartbeat. Eventually, the client is also in a dreamlike state, where the best healing occurs. Used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including stress-related disorders, and muscular pain.

Magnetic Field Therapy

This therapy makes use of magnetic force fields to treat a variety of disorders. In some cases, small magnets are attached to various parts of the body. In others, a magnetic field, generated by electricity, is directed onto the patient. The force field makes muscles relax and encourages blood to flow. This in turn aids healing. Magnetic field therapy is thought to help ease back pain, particularly where there is muscle spasm. Used to treat whiplash injury, rheumatic pain, severe bruising and lumbago.
The Pendle Therapy Clinic: 07552100515 or visit www.therapy-clinic.co.uk

Moxibustion

This involves burning dried mugwort leaves, known as moxa, near the skin over a specific acupuncture point. It is believed that application of heat over specific points of the body can help treat diseases by restoring smooth flow of chi energy.  The skin is never burned. Sometimes burning moxa is placed in a box so it can be applied to a larger area, such as the abdomen to treat the underlying kidneys. Moxa may also be placed on a slice of ginger or garlic, or on salt, for more specific effects. Ginger helps promote circulation while garlic has a strong antiseptic effect. Moxibustion is used to treat colds, stiff necks, frozen shoulder and fatigue.

Naturopathy

This literally means “natural treatment” and is a combined approach using diet, herbs, water therapy, osteopathy, fasting and supplements to treat the root cause of illness and restore health. All naturopathic treatments start on the premise that the body has the power to heal itself, as long as it is given clean water, air, natural food and plenty of exercise. Naturopaths pay a great deal of attention to the health of the bowels. The naturopath diet involves cutting out alcohol and severely restricting intake of salt, sugar and fat. Used to treat  allergies, arthritis, bronchitis, ulcers and viruses, among others.
General Council and Register of Naturopaths 01458 840072 or visit www.naturopathy.org.uk

Pilates

Minnie Driver and Julia Roberts are both fans of Pilates, which is a series of approximately 500 exercises across a wide range of specially designed exercise equipment. Floor work is also an integral part of the technique. The aim is to develop flexibility and strength, focusing on breathing with movement, body mechanics, balance, co-ordination, positioning of the body, and spatial awareness. Pilates can be done for fitness or for rehabilitation after injury. The exercises are taught on a one-to-one basis with the instructor. Used to treat muscular tension, poor posture, backpain and headaches.
Pilates Foundation: 0208 650 4577 or visit www.pilatesfoundation.com

Polarity Therapy

Practitioners believe that energy moves between positive and negative poles in different parts of the body. The therapist uses touch to release the energy blocks that cause ill health. The therapy usually starts with a cleansing programme that lasts for about two weeks. This involves a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables and a drink designed to flush the liver. Used to treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, back pain, ME, and cardiovascular problems.
UK Polarity Therapy Association: visit www.polarity.tk

Radionics

Radionics is a diagnostic method which uses instruments to measure different aspects of an individual’s energy state from a “witness”. This could be a  hair clipping or a drop of blood. Patients also have to complete a questionnaire and the whole thing can be done at a distance. Practitioners do not claim to produce a medical diagnosis, but analyse the results. Physical and mental problems can be identified and then treated.
Radionic Association: 01869 338852 or visit www.radionic.co.uk

Reflexology

This is a specialised massage of the feet performed to correct the imbalances of the body. Also known as zone therapy, reflexology is based on the belief that the body is divided into ten equal zones, which can be matched to areas on the sole of the feet. Stimulating the correct area of the foot, also stimulates the corresponding body part. For example, the big toe is connected to the head and the heel reflects the pelvis. A full session normally takes 45 minutes and the best results are achieved after number of treatments on a weekly basis. Used to treat digestive problems, menstrual irregularities, fatigue, aches and pains and many more conditions.
Association of Reflexologists: 01823 351010 or visit www.aor.org.uk

Reverse Therapy

Founded in 2002, this therapy was designed to help people suffering from ME, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Practitioners believe that these conditions are all caused by a dysfunctional hypothalamus gland in the brain, which produces negative physical effects through the nervous and immune systems. The therapy works by decoding the brain’s messages, that create negative physical symptoms. With guidance, the patient can reduce the symptoms and promoting a return to health. Each session lasts for an hour and most people require six sessions. The patient has to keep a detailed record of their symptoms, together with thoughts and emotions at the times that the symptoms occurred.
Reverse Therapy: 01488 608702 or visit www.reversetherapy.com

Rolfing

Rolfing is a bodywork technique which involves the manipulation of the fascia or connective tissue. Tension in the fascia network, which includes the ligaments and tendons is returned to normal by deep, slow pressure. It is an intensive and invasive and it may cause some discomfort. Jennie Crewdson, a London-based Rolfer for the last 13 years, explains: “What we do is lengthen the connective tissue where it is shortened and separate it when it is stuck. A frozen shoulder for example, is connective tissue sticking together. We sink in and move it in chunks.” A full rolfing course involves 10 treatments, all lasting about one hour. Each session treats a different part of the body. Used to treat muscular pain, poor posture and breathing difficulties.
Rolf Institute: www.rolf.org

Shiatsu Massage

This is an ancient Japanese form of pressure-point massage which reduces stress and calms the nervous system. It is based on the principles of Chinese acupuncture. The masseur applies pressure to key acupuncture points for the purpose of promoting the smooth flow of energy around the body. Shiatsu is usually performed with a patient lying on the floor, fully dressed.  In some form of shiatsu, practitioners use their feet. Treatment lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and is deeply relaxing. Used to improve digestion, menstrual function, concentration and mental wellbeing.
Shiatsu Society: www.shiatsusociety.org

Thai Massage

A rigorous massage when the masseur manipulates the client into various positions and applies full-body pressure. Some people can find it uncomfortable, but many people say it is the ultimate invigorating massage. When the pressure gets intense, you need to breathe deeply and visualise the flow of energy. The masseur may walk across the back and torso. The session ends with gentle kneading of the neck and shoulders. Each massage can last from one to two hours.  Used to treat muscular pain, headache, fatigue and digestive problems.

Thought Field Therapy

This treatment is based on the ancient Chinese belief that energy is channelled around the body. A practitioner shows you have to use your fingers to gently tap meridian points, which correspond to lines of energy on the body. At the same time, you visualise the thing you are afraid of. This works on a subconscious level to induce calm. Only one treatment is usually needed. Used to treat phobias and other anxiety-related disorders.
Thought Filed Therapy Association: www.thoughtfieldtherapy.co.uk

Trager Therapy

This treatment is a combination of rocking movement and vibration, and was developed in the 1920s to release tension. The therapist gently shakes your limbs while you lie on a massage table. Each session lasts an hour. It can be used to treat everything from tension headaches to muscular problems.
The Hale Clinic: 01872 520492, or visit www.trager.co.uk

Transcendental Meditation

This is a simple form of meditation developed in the 1950s by an Indian monk named Maharishi Majesh Yoga.  It is based on the concept that repeating mantras of short words or phrases can help someone reach a deep level of consciousness. Mantras are selected according to the individual’s temperament and occupation. During meditation, the heart rate slows, the muscles relax and blood pressure goes down. Used to treat hypertension, anxiety disorders and stress.
Transcendental Meditation: www.t-m.org.uk

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