headaches and back pain. One in four people surveyed had used complementary treatments over the past year, including massage, homeopathy, osteopathy and herbal remedies. In Germany, the fi gure was 40%. Researchers found that rather than turning away from conventional medicine, people were using both. With so many treatments, however,


from crystal to theta healing, it can be easy to be taken in by charlatans. It’s the tried-and-tested treatments which are surging in popularity. Ashdown identifi es acupuncture, aromatherapy, ayuverda, biofeedback, homeopathy, hypnotherapy and naturopathic medicine as the most popular. “Some of these are thousands of years older than conventional medicine,” Ashdown points out. For anyone still too suspicious, there’s

Continued from p48 Growing awareness about mental health is also spearheading the trend away from conventional medicine. “It’s wonderful to see that the taboo around mental health is fi nally changing,” says Antiglio. “Looking after our mental health is an essential part of life, but we usually take it for granted until something happens.” Alternative medicine is more accurately

known integrative or holistic medicine, because treatments take into account the mind and body as a whole. “Conventional medicine is organ-specifi c and sees the body as a mechanical system, whereas alternative medicine considers each person as an individual,” explains Ashdown. Another description for alternative is

complementary, and for many people treatments really can complement traditional medicine. Ashdown observes that her clients don’t all necessarily reject conventional medicine with many believing there’s room for both. Research certainly backs this up. A major report published in the American Cancer

Society’s journal confi rms that conventional and alternative can work together. As many as 80% of people suff ering from cancer use some sort of complementary therapy, and this review of clinical trials found evidence that meditation, yoga, massage, music therapy and acupuncture help cancer suff ers deal with anxiety and depression, and improve their quality of life. The strongest evidence was for meditation. A recent major study by the

University of Helsinki, covering more than 20 countries in Europe with over 40,000 respondents, found that alternative medicine is helping people deal with common health problems including

increasing research on the subject. A clinical trial by the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine last year found that a six-day programme, based on the ancient Indian medicine of ayurveda, resulted in signifi cant decrease of infl ammation

and cholesterol. The programme involved a vegetarian diet, yoga and meditation as well as massage. The study was co- led by bestselling author and long-time champion of alternative health remedies, Dr Deepak Chopra. Ultimately, alternative treatments for

the body and mind depend on us making active changes rather than simply swallowing pills and that could be the appeal. “People can take responsibility for making changes to their daily habits that contribute to whatever issue they may be dealing with,” concludes Kudzielka.



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