Published November 14th, 2013 | Features

Complementary therapies


Complementary therapies are treatments which are not scientifically proven to work by the normal clinical standards of modern medicine, but which have been used, in some cases, for hundreds of years to relieve people’s symptoms. The term ‘complementary’ is often preferred, as the therapies are increasingly widely used alongside conventional treatments, although many medical professionals remain sceptical.

Homoeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy and a range of ‘hands on’ healing techniques such as reiki, shiatsu and herbal remedies are common forms of complementary medicine; but what are they, what exactly is involved, and how could they help you?

If you are anything like the team at Waiting…, you probably have a good idea about one or two, and a very vague idea – at best – about the others. So here, in the first of our series explaining what’s what in the world of complementary therapy, we prick the surface of acupuncture to find out what it’s all about, with a little help from Rob Stockton  BSc ATCM of Acupuncture First in Heswall (

So, how does it work?

“According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), blood and energy run in regular channels throughout the body. If this supply of blood and energy is disrupted — by things such as stress, disease, or poor diet — imbalances occur in the body, which can lead to poor health. Acupuncture helps clear obstructions in the body to re-establish balance and regular energy flow.”

Is it suitable for everyone?

“Virtually everybody! There are very few conditions which exclude a patient and we always take a full medical and drug history to ensure that the patient is absolutely safe. We even treat patients with needle phobia using a non-needle therapy, acupressure, coupled with tui na massage.”

Can it treat any type of condition?

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) endorses acupuncture as a safe and effective, as well as cost-effective, treatment for over 40 different health conditions including back and joint pain, depression, migraine, digestive disorders, insomnia, stress and anxiety, gynaecological problems (including infertility), arthritis, fatigue and addictions. It has something to offer almost every condition.”

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