Health & Wellbeing. Complementary medicine on the health service - pluDr Sarah Brewer
The GP who looks for alternatives
DEAR DOCTOR - Your approach to integrative health is a welcome breath of fresh air. Do many doctors embrace complementary treatments now? My own GP recently refused to refer me for homeopathic treatment.
An increasing number of doctors are introducing the best of complementary medicine in their work. A recent survey of more than 1,200 GP partnerships found that 40 per cent provided NHS patients with access to some form of complementary therapy, of which acupuncture and homeopathy were the most common. An estimated 25 per cent had made NHS referrals for complementary therapies. You are entitled to homeopathic treatment on the NHS, and if your doctor decides it is appropriate, he or she can refer you to an NHS doctor at one of the five NHS homeopathic hospitals or at an NHS homeopathic clinic.
If your doctor refuses to refer you, he or she should be able to discuss the decision with you to explain why they do not feel it is appropriate. You can then request a second opinion.
The British Homeopathic Association publishes a useful guide, How to get Homeopathic Treatment on the NHS, which you can request by phone, tel 020 7566 7800, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.trusthomeopathy.org.
DEAR DOCTOR — I have a lot of problems resulting from childhood abuse. Counselling and homeopathy have helped but I’ve read that deeply suppressed memories can trigger serious illness. How do I access these to clear them and move on?
A technique known as “the Journey” has been developed by Brandon Bays to access harmful, stored memories. While you are relaxed, with eyes closed, the therapist takes you on either an emotional or physical journey to find and neutralise harmful memories. The physical journey is a guided visualisation through your body in which your inner awareness takes you to where a “cell memory” is causing problems. Once there, the memory is replayed using new resources to which you did not previously have access, and you can visualise that part of your body being healed. In an emotional journey, you are guided through several layers of powerful emotions to find an inner place of calm and spiritual awareness known as the “source”. When guided back through the emotional layers, you have the opportunity to address outstanding issues with one or more people from your past. Having recently attended a Journey weekend, I can confirm that it is an exceptionally powerful healing technique which you should find rewarding. For information, including details of therapists, call 07000 783646 (www.brandonbays.com; The Journey by Brandon Bays, Thorsons £8.99).
DEAR DOCTOR — I am increasingly suffering from insomnia which is made worse by hot, sticky nights, but I don’t want to take sleeping tablets. What would you advise?
Avoid caffeine and excess alcohol, and try sleeping naked under a linen sheet with a fan positioned to play over the bed. Use an aromatherapy diffuser to perfume the air with lavender essential oil, or a mixture of lemongrass and orange (eg Relaxation Oil from Senses Fragrance Therapy, tel: 01424 222886).
A recent survey of 4,762 people taking 600mg of standardised, concentrated Vale