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12:02pm Friday 29th February 2008 in Health
Aspirin or acupuncture? With so little information readily available in making the right choices for your health and wellbeing, the decision to go for complementary or conventional treatments can be difficult and confusing.
Nowadays, many people are reluctant to resort to conventional methods when there may be an alternative treatment with no side-effects, but trying to find the appropriate remedy can be a real headache!
In the fast pace of today's world where everybody is under constant pressure, people are taking more interest in maintaining good health and wellbeing.
Complementary therapy brings together the best of both worlds by aiming to deal with the whole person and not just the symptoms.
Historically, alternative treatments were founded on systems practised thousands of years ago and is in fact considered to be the original form of medicine. Its roots are derived from an amalgamation of healing ceremonies and rituals from China, India, Japan and the Americas, and have transcended through the centuries due to playing a prominent role in medicine.
For a modern day alternative, the Well Being Clinic, Headington, is a heavenly holistic hideaway tucked away from the busy high street. Established 30 years ago, the clinic recognised the need for giving people a different choice.
For many, massage, acupuncture and reflexology are known solely as the main holistic treatments. Yet as the broad list of treatments available at The WellBeing Clinic demonstrates, complementary therapy can accommodate for a variety of problems of differing degrees. From the Japanese healing practise of Reiki to Indian head massage and Bach flower remedies (a Harley Street favourite), natural therapy according to statistics from the BBC, has seen a growth in popularity over the past five years due to the increasing dissatisfaction with conventional medicine. And, if the rising sales of herbal and homeopathic remedies over the last decade are anything to go by, even more of us are turning to unconventional forms of health care.
In translating ancient native techniques and beliefs into modern day life, the clinic with their 40 therapists, combine to provide an extensive treatment list to soothe any ailment. This approach to health and beauty takes into account stress in people's lives. With a holistic approach, the mind, body and spirit, rather than just the skin, are taken care of.
"Ultimately we look at the causes, not the symptoms," explained Sarah Jones, the Well Being Clinic's resident reflexologist. "All aspects of life-style, general health and well-being are taken into account in order to treat not just the condition, but also the person as a whole."
Sarah's signature treatment and a relatively new addition to the complementary field is facial reflexology. It is widely known that facial massage works wonders for toning facial muscles, plumping and rejuvenating the skin, a non-surgical facelift'.
But by combining the massage and stimulating facial acupressure points, face reflexology works directly on the pulses that are linked to the brain.
Not only is this treatment incredibly relaxing but it actually helps improve the flow of energy, balance the body's chemistry and in some cases can alleviate emotional symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. The ethos of this treatment may be difficult to understand at first (especially to a sceptic as I was) but after experiencing it firsthand I felt thoroughly de-stressed, gained a new founded sense of balance and my skin looked noticeably plumper.
Considered a gentle non-invasive alternative to ear syringing, Hopi ear candling is an ancient Indian technique designed to balance pressure and withdraw impurities such as excess wax.
Susan Scott (pictured below), the Hopi Ear Practitioner at The WellBeing Clinic describes the process: "The Hopi treatment uses candles that are hand-made from camomile, sage, beeswax and pure essential oils wrapped in untreated cotton. They are then placed in the ear and lit; this generates a light suction action, which in turn creates a vacuum, inducing a pleasant feeling of warmth.
"Pressure is balanced in the ears, forehead and sinuses as a result of the massage-like effect on the eardrum."
The candling process is particularly good for treating problems such as headaches, tinnitus, vertigo, swimmer's ear and bronchitis and, combined with the facial massage that Susan includes, the effects can bring about a sense of calmness and of pure relaxation.
The therapists of the Well Being Clinic deserve great admiration. Not only are they trying to combat the stigma that is associated with complementary therapy and attempting to work hand-in-hand with conventional medicine, these women are actively trying to educate the masses about the benefits of holistic treatments.
Frequent talks and demonstrations are held at Headington Town Hall and open indulgence' days at the clinic for taster sessions.
The therapists also work closely with local cancer charities and hospices on a voluntary basis providing treatments for the patients. This is hands on healing' in the very essence of the word.
Facial reflexology and Hopi ear candling starts from £30. For more information on other holistic treatments call the Well Being Clinic on 01865 751111 or visit the website: www.wellbeingclinic.com Oxfordshire also plays host to many other complementary therapists, among them are two that employ therapists from the Well Being Clinic.
The Oxford Natural Health Centre, Iffley, Oxford (01865 715615) and The Practice, Thame (01844 213344).
Both offer a wide range of non-conventional treatments and therapy.