An Outline of Complementary & Alternative Therapies
This is an extract from The Psychics & Mediums Network Teaching Manual that is used as support material for our on-line classes and distance learning projects. It was written for us by Vi Kipling with Craig Hamilton-Parker.
There are as many Healing Therapies offered in the market place today as there are illnesses requiring treatment. It is not the remit of this Course to suggest that any treatment is more suitable to a particular illness than any other, nor to suggest that a patient should avail him/herself of any of the complementary or alternative therapies available in preference to orthodox medicine.
It is extremely important that any illness or the non-functioning of any part of the body should be diagnosed in the first instance by a duly qualified medical practitioner. Dependent upon the nature of the problem will rest the decision of its treatment; the majority of the therapies listed are complementary to orthodox medicine but it is suggested that a patient discuss any such additional treatment with his/her doctor.
There follows a brief description of some of the well-known therapies with an explanation of their application together with details of Registered Organisations responsible for training practitioners within their respective fields.
What is Herbal Healing?
Herbs have been available to and used by, mankind since the dawn of time. Certain herbs are known to have a beneficial effect on the human body in the treatment of many illnesses and are used in some of the chemical compounds administered by the medical profession.
Herbalists are people trained in the use of herbs; who are capable of assessing the quantities of each herb required for any particular mixture and creating the requisite blend for the patient. The majority of Herbalists are employed by the huge conglomerates involved in the Herbal industry but there are still a few qualified Herbalists working in the back rooms of small shops.
What is Aromatherapy Healing?
Like herbal preparations, aromatic substances to help to cure diseases and elevate the spirit has been practiced by the greatest civilizations throughout history. Historical textbooks describe the art of making medicated oils and refer to them as ‘magical perfumes’ to assist the restoration of good health.
Aromatherapy, as it is known today, is a 20th-century development and came into existence when a French chemist called Gattefossé badly burned his hand and plunged it into the nearest liquid, being a vat of lavender essential oil. The burn healed so rapidly that Gattefossé embarked on a lifetime study of the therapeutic properties of plant oils.
Other pioneers followed Gattefossé, but it was Marguerite Maury, a French biochemist who began diluting and applying essential oils by massage. Aromatherapy is considered to be a natural therapy that is accepted by most healthcare professionals.
Aromatherapy is the treatment of the whole body rather than of individual parts and not only can pain be alleviated, but also stress. It is claimed that stress-related problems such as sleeping badly, aches and pains, poor digestion, skin problems, lack of energy, etc. can receive a beneficial effect from Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy works by the body absorbing the oils while the perfume stimulates the brain, via the olfactory sense, and imbues within the person a positive emotional response, creating a sense of well-being and peace.
Essential oils are for external use only and should never be taken orally.
As the essential oils are highly concentrated and require blending with carrier oils before use, Aromatherapists are highly trained people and it is important that if treatment is to be sought, that a professional aromatherapist be found and qualifications checked. It is too easy, and dangerous, to purchase the essential oils and a DIY book and set up as an Aromatherapist. Only people who have trained with a recognized organization should be consulted. A check can be made with the International Federation of Aromatherapists.
What is Reflexology Therapy?
Most natural forms of therapy and, and this includes the Reflexology method of treatment have usually been used and practiced for thousands of years.
Recent Reflexology was called Zone Therapy by Eunice Ingham from America but the main pioneer of Reflexology in Great Britain was the late Doreen Bayly who introduced the method in the early 1960s.
Reflexology is a form of ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ medical treatment wherein the practitioner uses massage to reflex areas found in the feet and the hands. Usually, it is the feet that are used as the areas treated.
Practitioners of Reflexology, as with Aromatherapy, treat the whole of the body rather than the painful or diseased part. The majority of ‘natural therapists’ treat the patient as a ‘whole’ which means that not only are the symptoms treated but also the causes of symptoms.
It is claimed that the whole of the human body is reflected in the feet and that by using the reflex areas, a beneficial effect will be achieved within the body. To treat the right side of the body, the right foot is massaged and for the left side, the left foot.
Reflexology takes the form of foot massage with the Practitioner paying particular attention to areas of concern. Some of the disorders it is said to be able to help include such things as migraine, sinus problems, hormonal imbalances, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems, and tension, and stress. It is a very relaxing therapy and the majority of people who have experienced treatment feel a benefit.
Acupuncture is a form of healing used in China for more than 2500 years. It is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting very fine disposable needles into specific points on the body to “re-balance” the flow of the body’s energy.
Energy is called “QI” pronounced ‘Chi’ and it is said to flow through channels or meridians. Energy should flow in a free, unobstructed way around the body, as blood does. If it is not free-flowing, if there is a blockage, this may manifest in illness.
The body is like a machine and while it can put up with much stress and abuse, there is a limit. Illness can occur, as with any abuse if warnings are ignored.
The aim of acupuncture is the restoration of balance and the therapist will insert the needles at the appropriate points to stimulate the flow of energy around the body. Sometimes the acupuncturist will manually stimulate the inserted needles or at other times, will use a small electric current for such stimulation.
The needles, if correctly inserted, should be painless and a normal treatment usually takes approximately 20 minutes.
A therapy that has been in existence as long as Acupuncture must have a record of successful cures, or improvements, for it still to be in use but, as with all complementary therapies, check qualifications and any Parent Organisation with which the therapist has registered.
How Does Homoeopathy Work?
Homeopathic medicine was first described by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843). Hahnemann was a German physician who was dissatisfied with the medical therapies and theories of his day. As he was translating a book by the Scot, Cullen, on medicines and their uses, Hahnemann challenged the ideas about how such medicines might work.
This led him to take the substance himself so he could experience and describe its effects on a healthy human being. Repeating this type of experiment with other healthy volunteers (these experiments were called “provings”) led him to observe and describe the basic principles of homeopathic medicine.
Homeopathy is a therapeutic system which treats the patient as an individual It also concentrates on treating the whole person as opposed to just the symptoms of any disease. Homeopathy is a complementary therapy and is not in conflict with orthodox medicine.
When a body becomes ill it is usually because, for whatever reason, its functioning mechanism is failing. Homeopathy works on the whole body to help it maintain good health and to stimulate its repair mechanisms.
While Homeopathic doctors work in a similar manner to orthodox doctors, they are also interested in establishing the cause of a problem and this can be done by having a greater understanding of the person and they will consider not only the patient’s medical history and diagnosis of the illness from the symptoms displayed but will also consider personality traits, physical features, the effects of a variety of environmental influences, patterns of disease within families, and family and social relationships.
Like attracts Like
Homeopathy works on the concept of ‘Like attracts Like’ and what causes a problem can also cure it as with Digoxin which can both cause and cure heart irregularities. The drugs, however, were diluted to such an extent that even a drug that was potentially harmful can be absorbed by the patient and have a beneficial effect upon him/her.
Current research in Homeopathy is focusing on the ability of water to retain an imprint of substances that have been dissolved in it. Whatever the mechanism, there is a substantial growing body of evidence that homeopathy works; that it is safe, effective, and cost-effective.
Homeopathy is now a well-established therapy and there are numerous qualified doctors in this field that an interested patient can visit.
What is Healing by Hypnosis?
Hypnotic or suggestive therapy is claimed to be a healing technique that has been in use throughout the ages. History shows that there were Sleep Temples in Egypt and also in Italy and in Greece.
It was Franz Anton Mesmer who, in the 18th Century when many curious beliefs were held as to the nature of illness and disease, induced trance in people to help effect a cure or easement of their illnesses. Mesmer called this act of induction Animal Magnetism which later became known as Mesmerism. Unfortunately, Mesmerism was discredited and yet people still practiced it long after Mesmer had died as often it was claimed, miracle cures took place.
James Braid investigated Mesmerism in the 19th Century and found that he could achieve the same result as Mesmer, the same trance-like states, just by using a simple suggestion. Mr. Braid was responsible for naming his technique Hypnosis and for a while, it was accepted by the scientific establishment.
The science of Hypnosis has been discredited by the Stage Magicians of the 20th Century and many people no longer treat the subject with any seriousness. After having said that, however, it is acceptable to the BMC, the ruling body of the medical profession in the UK as local practitioners and hospital doctors have been known to either train and use the technique themselves, or refer patients to qualified practitioners.
The actual state of being hypnotized is similar to being in an altered state of awareness; neither awake nor asleep but in a pleasantly relaxed state. In this state, beneficial suggestions are made to the patient’s subconscious mind and if the subconscious accepts these suggestions, then there can be very beneficial effects experienced by the patients. It should be stressed, however, that no person can be hypnotized against their will, even though many claims that this has been done.
Hypnosis brings about a state of wellbeing, of co-operation between Hypnotist, Patient, and the subconscious mind of the Patient with the sole purpose of helping the Patient with fears, phobias, stress, aids to willpower, etc.
It is interesting to note that the mediumship of Andrew Jackson Davis, the Father of the Children’s progressive Lyceum Movement commenced when he saw a Mesmerist. He was later entranced by a neighbor which appeared to trigger off his mediumship.
Hypnosis can be used in mediumship, not to induce spirit contact, but it can relax the novice medium to a stage where it helps the guides in their efforts to draw close and make contact.
Ensure only qualified Professional Hypnotists or Hypnotherapists are consulted if treatment is to be sought.
What is Reiki Healing?
To be a Reiki practitioner it is necessary to be ‘attuned’ by a teacher or a Master and it appears there are different levels of competence within the Reiki structure as the student practitioner studies, practices his healing therapy until s/he achieves the status of Reiki Master.
Reiki is a Japanese word which is said to be representative of the Universal Life Energy, the energy which permeates through and surrounds all life. As with spirit healing Reiki when used healing has a beneficial effect on the whole person.
In a Reiki treatment, the practitioner will transfer the universal life force to the patient; this transfer can either be direct to the patient or filtered through the practitioner’s own body first. The practitioner carries out this transference by the laying on of hands and the patient remains clothed at all times.
During a healing session, energy will be directed to various parts of the patient’s body with particular attention being given to the major organs of the body. Reiki can also be applied directly to injured parts of the body and the patient normally feels a deep warmth, wellbeing, and comfort.
As with spiritual healing, the actual healer or practitioner is only a channel for the healing energies and does not, in him/herself, effect any cures that may occur. A Reiki practitioner undergoes extensive training in order to be able to work within the field of Reiki Healing which is a therapy complementary to other methods of healing; not a substitute and neither is it an alternative method of healing.
Schools of Reiki Healing
There are many Schools of Reiki Healing with numerous registered practitioners and anyone wishing to experience this healing method should have no difficulty in finding such an exponent.
There are so many therapies on the market that it would be possible to write an extensive book on all the alternative and complementary therapies that are available to people seeking help for chronic illnesses or pain relief. It is also possible for a patient to be referred to an alternative therapist by a General Practitioner or Hospital Consultant and receive such treatment under the National Health Scheme. In the main, however, these therapies can be found within the private healing sector and can be expensive. It must be stressed once again, however, that before parting with any money the Practitioner’s qualifications should be checked.
This is an extract from The Psychics & Mediums Network Teaching Manual that is used as support material for our on-line classes and distance learning projects.
COPYRIGHT This article is part of our Distance Learning Project DLP – a course specially written for us by the great Spiritualist Violet Kipling and long time worker on this website.