The plethora of possible therapies can be quite confusing to the new patient. In addition, most individual therapies are taught at a number of different training schools, which often vary in their emphasis and approach. What is important is to find both a therapy and a practitioner that suit you personally. Often the qualities of the practitioner as a person are at least as important as the techniques he or she uses.
The therapies described in the following pages can all be helpful for emotional stress, physical tension and pain, as well as insomnia. If touch is lacking in your life, you might receive particular benefit from a hands-on treatment like osteopathy, chiropractic, aromatherapy, or massage. If you feel taking medication is important or necessary, try homoeopathy or medical herbalism.
Before embarking on a course of treatment it’s worth checking out what the practitioner has to offer in addition to any specialization. Some train in more than one discipline, and can advise you on diet or nutritional supplements, or combine treatments like osteopathy and acupuncture.
You may find your practitioner using unusual means of diagnosis: some are trained in iridology, diagnosis through the iris of the eye, which reflects the state of the body: variations in the colour, dark or light spots and so on can indicate organic or functional weaknesses and nutritional deficiencies. Some use kinesiology techniques (see page 150) to test imbalances and nutritional needs; some use dowsing with a pendulum. Some are highly intuitive and can tell a lot about a patient simply by looking at them or touching them.
Assuming your GP is open minded, it’s as well to let him or her know that you are seeking additional treatment. Doctors today are conscious of the possible side-effects of tranquillizers and sleeping pills; they don’t want patients to become addicted, and many of them recognize the value of alternative forms of reducing anxiety.
However, if you are already taking medication you should discuss this with both your doctor and the natural practitioner you have chosen. Some forms of natural medicine really are alternative rather than complementary to conventional medicine; some herbal medicines, for example, may not be compatible with medical drugs, and the effect of some homoeopathic remedies can be counteracted by drugs like steroids. So you should talk to your doctor before making any changes in or adding to what he or she has already prescribed.
Anti-Depressants/Sleeping Aid

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