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Tilly Kidman

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Published on: 23 Mar 2017 by tilly-k

Alternative Therapies To Consider

The strain on the NHS is critical, and the list of reasons is ever
growing. In this age of modern medicine we’re managing to keep people alive for
longer and life expectancy has risen dramatically over the last few decades. On
the other end of the scale, millions of patients are visiting their GPs (and even
A&E departments) every year with minor ailments such as coughs and colds
which could be treated by taking a trip to the local pharmacy. Every resource
within the NHS is at breaking point, and the knock on effect of this pressure
is that you are more likely to have to wait for longer for a referral from your
GP. For millions of people suffering with any form of pain, this outlook is a
bleak one.

One obvious way to beat the queue is to go private but this can be
costly and for the average family, might not be within their budget. And for a
lot of people, paying for a service/treatment that would be free on the NHS can
be a bitter pill to swallow.

As we all know there are many alternative and complementary therapies
available, some as cures, others used as an alternative to medicinal pain
relief. At a time when we as a nation are becoming more ‘immune’ to the effects
of anti-biotics and some pain medications, and with the risks of becoming addicted
to the latter it seems that more and more people are seeking out ‘drug free’
methods of coping with their conditions or pain management.  In today’s ‘pill popping’ culture many are
being liberated from the endless repeat prescriptions and wasted hours sat
inside their GP’s waiting rooms.

So what exactly is on offer? Let’s take a look at some therapies, specifically
targeting pain relief and management, and or general wellbeing. These therapies
aren’t hard and fast cures; some work just as well as preventative measures.

Acupuncture

Have you ever considered acupuncture for your ailments? You might just
be surprised at what acupuncture could do for you! This ancient treatment can
be used on a variety of aches and pains as well as the symptoms
of the menopause
. Most recently, studies have shown that acupuncture can
also effectively treat anxiety and depression. If your fear of needles is
holding you back, fear not, acupuncture needles are as fine as human hair.
Whether you’re suffering from back pain, knee pain or even tension headaches, acupuncture
is a route that’s definitely worth trying. Not only this, it’s also a great
overall wellness booster!

Aromatherapy

Essential oils are applied to the body where they
penetrate the skin via the hair follicles and sweat glands. Bacteria and viruses
are killed off when they are absorbed into the body fluids, and they also
stimulate the body's immune system. Some essential oils can increase
circulation and eliminate toxins. Others can promote new cell growth helping
the body to naturally heal. Molecules of essential oils are absorbed into the
bloodstream when they are inhaled and the lungs work to oxygenate the blood. This
is most effective when inhaled directly from a tissue or vaporiser, or added to
bathwater.

Meditation

Our
minds are often restless; meditation teaches us to be calmer, to relax and
generally take quiet time for ourselves. It needs practice and perseverance,
and you need to devote some time (and energy) to getting it right! As well as
the benefits meditation can bring to our spiritual being, there are physical
benefits too. With induced relaxation there is an increase in nitric oxide
which causes blood vessels to open up thus lowering blood pressure. Studies
have shown
that some patients suffering with high blood pressure who have taken up
meditation have been able to stop taking their blood pressure medication. It
also provides a natural boost to the immune system, which is excellent news for
those of us prone to the common cold!

Hypnotherapy

This process alters our state of consciousness; it is not a state of deep
sleep. Although it does involve the patient being put into a trance like
state, but one of heightened awareness, bringing the subconscious mind to the
forefront. The therapist is able to suggest concepts and ideas which become
planted in the patent’s mind. Hypnotherapy is used to treat a wide range of
issues from addiction, sleeping disorders and stress, to chronic pain
management.

Reflexology

Based on the theory that different pressure points on the feet
correspond with different parts of the body, reflexology treatment is thought
to restore the body’s natural balance.

The
reflexologist applies pressure to the feet (or sometimes the hands or ears)
which sends calming messages to the central nervous system which signals the
body to adjust its tension levels.  This
in turn amplifies relaxation, bringing the whole body’s organs and systems to
optimum function. This increases blood supply and circulation, boosting cell
generation and waste/toxin removal. Reflexology works on the theory that pain
can be managed by reducing stress and improving mood.

Exercise

From a walk around the park or a dip in the pool to a hard-core gym
session, it’s all aerobic! Exercise will force oxygen and nutrition to your
muscles which will help rebuild energy and stamina and in turn can help reduce
any stiffness and pain. You’ll see a reduction in stress and with the release
of those endorphins your mood will be lifted instantly! Yoga and/or stretching
will tone and strengthen your muscles, as will light weight training. Everyday
chores and activities all help sustain a more active lifestyle, which coupled
with a healthy diet benefit both body and mind.

Whichever approach you take to your health and wellbeing, whether it be
traditional or holistic, there are a wealth of possibilities. And as some of
the therapies listed above (particularly Acupuncture) are classed as complementary,
you may even be able to get a referral from your GP. That’s if you manage to
get an appointment!

 

 

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