What is Complementary Therapy?

What is Complementary Therapy?
Massage, Reiki, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage are holistic complementary therapies. These therapies have been known to have been practiced by various ancient civilisations like the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Japanese and the Native American Indians, as far back as 10000 BC. Unlike conventional medicine, the holistic approach seeks to treat the person as a whole looking at all aspects of their lives, lifestyle, diet, occupation and emotions, rather than just looking at and treating the symptoms of the current illness.
A great number of today’s illnesses come about as a result of the stress and tension in the lives we lead these days. Following illnesses, stress, injury or disease, the body will very often be left in a state of imbalance, with the vital energy pathways blocked and this prevents the body and all its individual systems from functioning effectively.
The Benefits of Complementary Therapy
Complementary therapies can help to restore the body’s natural equilibrium and balance and when the body is relaxed and in balance it can cope with the everyday stresses and strains of life much more effectively.
Complementary therapies can ; boost the immune system, help eliminate toxins, help relieve pain, improve circulation, improve sleep patterns, increase energy levels, induce deep relaxation, reduce stress and tension, restore balance to body systems.
Complementary therapies can be used to target a specific physical, mental, emotional or spiritual problem, or as a preventative measure or purely for relaxation so whether you have a specific health problem or you just want to increase your feeling of well-being or simply relax more.
Help your clients to discover the benefits of holistic therapies that will help to restore natural balance and wellbeing. Enabling them to leave the stresses and strains of modern day life behind and experience a relaxing and rejuvenating treatment. When the body is relaxed and in balance it can cope with the stresses and strains of everyday living much more effectively.
Some Complementary Therapies
Reiki (pronounced Ray-key) is a Japanese word meaning Universal Life Energy, an energy which is all around us.
Reiki is the name of the system of natural healing which was re-discovered in Japan in the early 1900’s by Dr Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist Mystic and teacher. Dr. Usui was inspired to develop this healing system from ancient teachings after many years of study, research and meditation. He devoted the rest of his life practising and teaching Reiki, and today Reiki continues to be taught by Reiki Masters like myself who have trained in the tradition passed down from Master to student.
Although Reiki can be a very sacred experience for some people, no specific spiritual or religious beliefs, faith or philosophy are necessary in order to receive a treatment, it works in harmony with most belief systems. All that is required is an open mind and the desire for healing and change to take place in your life. Reiki is a gentle and powerfully effective form of natural hands on healing which works on every level of your being, spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.
What happens in a Reiki treatment
After a short consultation the Reiki treatment is received while you are reclined or relaxing on a couch or simply seated as you prefer. You will remain fully clothed (with the removal of shoes and any heavy jewellery, merely for comfort), as the Reiki energy passes through anything, even plaster casts. The most important thing is that the recipient feels totally comfortable and at ease.
During the treatment the practitioner gently places their hands non-intrusively in a sequence of positions which cover all the main energy centres of the whole body. As a holistic therapy the whole person is treated rather than specific symptoms. Reiki healing can be given anywhere and at any time as no special equipment is required. The practitioner is a purely channel for the healing energy which is drawn through them by the need or imbalances in the recipient.
During the treatment some people notice a feeling of warmth, tingling sensations or a gentle feeling of waves of energy, while others are aware of particular colours or their emotions or thoughts. Most people experience a profound sense of peace and total relaxation, a sense of being cared for and nurtured. Sometimes the practitioners hands feel very warm, sometimes they feel quite cool. Each Reiki experience is as unique and individual as the recipient.
The Benefits of Reiki
Reiki will flow to the individuals areas of need, soothing pain and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself. Reiki restores the balance in one's life. It instils a deep sense of calm, relaxing the mind and reducing stress and tension levels. It can accelerate the body’s own natural healing process and reduce recovery times, reduce pain levels and improve the efficiency of the immune system. It can increase energy and vitality levels, improve focus and concentration. It can promote a more positive outlook, enhance creativity and raise self-esteem and awareness encouraging personal and spiritual growth.
Acute injuries can be helped to heal very quickly but some more chronic illness can take a while longer. With terminal illnesses, where there is no time for the progress of the disease to be reversed, there is usually great benefit and enhancement of the quality of life, which gives an immense sense of peace and acceptance during the time remaining.
Reiki is not a replacement for conventional medicine but can work alongside all other forms of treatment, both orthodox and complementary, to support and enhance their effects.
The technique for Reflexology is similar in principle to acupuncture, it involves working with the reflex points on the hands or feet to release congestion or blockages in the vital energy pathways that flow around the body, allowing the energy to flow freely and restore the body back to its natural balanced state.
Based on the principle that there are reflexes on the feet and hands that relate to each organ, gland and structure in the body, in effect, the feet and hands are miniature maps of the entire body and that tension, blockages or congestion in different parts of the body will be reflected in the body reflexes found on the feet or hands. 
Gentle stimulation of the appropriate reflex points on the hands or feet will restore the flow of vital energy around the body, thereby allowing the body to heal itself at its own pace. 
Body Massage
Massage therapists use their hands along with oils to ‘rub’ the client’s body, throughout history we have used our hands to give comfort and healing to one another. Touching is contact, warmth and reassurance that we are not on our own, affirmation of our sense of being and self worth, this simple way of communicating is something that we do naturally every day of our lives.
From the beginning, life is based on an intimate and deep contact between cells that adhere to each other and exchange information. Our sense of touch is registered by our skin, our largest and most sensitive organ. In the developing embryo the skin arises from the same cell layer of the nervous system, able to receive and register lots of varied signals and respond to them. Touch is the first sense to become functional in the embryo.
The intent that goes with touch makes all the difference to its effects. When we lay our hands on another person with compassion and goodwill many subtle changes take place. Gentle holding and stroking, touching given with tenderness and care, cause transformation both physically and psychologically. Touch can make us feel valued, peaceful and more aware of our whole body and being.
When we place our hands on another person’s body, we treat both mind and body. The experience of being nourished and cared for and allowing ourselves to receive a ‘Healing’ touch, enables our self esteem, creates trust and openness and can sometimes facilitate the release of blocked emotions as tense muscles relax.
Physiologically, touch and massage help the flow of blood and lymph in our bodies. Touch soothes our nerves and decreases tension producing relaxation and a state of well being. Massage may aid the production of endorphins, the brains chemicals that function as a natural painkiller. Massage aids circulation, facilitates the removal of toxins and is desquamating, so is good for the appearance of the skin. Psychological effects are calm, relaxation and the generation of a feeling of well-being. The physiological effects are reduced aches and pains, relaxed body due to less tension, better skin condition etc. Massage can be done on the whole body or it can be focused on specific problem areas such as backs or legs.
The philosophy is that the patient can heal himself if the restricting factors are removed. The therapist’s job is to remove the factors that stop the patient’s body from regaining a state of balance, (homeostasis).
Complementary or natural therapies aim to keep people in a balanced state, therefore helping to prevent the onset of disease or illness.
Western medicine is wonderful and without it we would not all survive but it only treats the condition once it has become apparent and is causing distress. Complementary therapies, whilst also treating the condition, aim to treat the patient – 'between conditions', i.e. when they are well so as to keep them well and balanced at all times. Western medicine has little time for this; our G P's are overworked and far too hectic often to spend much time on giving preventative advice.
It is a great joy to see that some surgeries are now offering complementary therapies as part of the service for on-going care of patients.