There’s a lot of buzz around complementary medicine, but how do you know which ones are really effective?
Alternative therapies like reiki can be good stress busters.
Are you tired all the time? Do persistent headaches make you miserable? Or maybe you’re afraid of flying? You don’t always have to pop a pill or get a shot to feel better; sometimes looking beyond traditional medicine is all that’s needed to regain control over your life. But holistic treatments, while increasing in popularity, are also surrounded by a foggy shroud of ambiguity – which ones work and which ones are just a lot of mumbo-jumbo? We gave alternative treatments a shakeout to sift the hype from the helpful, and here’s what we found really works:
Image by Joint Base Lewis McChord via Flickr
Acupuncture What it is: Part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is the oldest – it’s over 5,000 years old – and most widely used form of medicine. Acupuncture uses thin, sterile stainless steel needles on the body’s 365 acupuncture points to treat a specific health issue or body part.
How it claims to work: When the balance between Yin and Yang is lost, the body can’t function properly and becomes prone to sickness. By inserting thin needles into the surface of the skin, blood circulation is stimulated and energy, or ‘Qi’ is allowed to flow again to fight off illness. Acupuncture can be uncomfortable – after all you are being pricked and prodded by needles – but when done properly, it should be bearable.
What it’s good for: A report from the World Health Organisation concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for neck, low back and knee pain, nausea and vomiting, headache, depression, and arthritis as well as pregnancy-related issues. First person: “After returning from a trip to Asia, I fell ill with a mystery disease. I was in and out of hospitals for two years, and no one could figure out what was wrong. Then I was referred to a hospital that combined conventional medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine, where I underwent acupuncture. They used needles on my head, spine, hands and feet and even between the toes, twisting them every 10 minutes to trigger the points over and over again. After three weeks, I felt relief; six months into it there was a huge improvement and now I’m healthy again.”
- Michaela Nielsen, 39, an events consultant and mother of a four-year old who lives in Business Bay
TongRen Tang offers more than 70 traditional Chinese medicinal products and services ranging from acupuncture and Tui Na to Moxibustion and Remedial Massage. 04-3497888; www.trtgulf.com.
Chaslu Wellbeing Centre offers a range of TCM treatments, including acupuncture and herbal remedies. 04-395 5799; www.chasludubai.ae.
Reiki What it is: This ancient Japanese healing art is an energy healing technique that draws on the body’s own power to release blockages that are hindering a person’s ability to heal, both physically and emotionally. How it claims to work: Reiki is also based on the life force – the ‘Ki’. When disturbed – for example by negative thoughts and feelings – the levels of the life force become jammed up and the physical body and mind are affected….
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