The iCAMhub contains therapists from 21 commonly used complementary therapies.
Below is a list of those therapies, together with background information about the therapy and what you might expect when consulting a therapist who practises that therapy. For any additional information we would advise you to contact the relevant recommended professional body.
Users should not seek advice from therapists on this site in place of essential medical treatment for conditions which should be carried out under the supervision of a suitably qualified healthcare professional.
Anthroposophical medicine is an extension of orthodox medical practice. It does not see illness as an accident or mechanical breakdown, but as something connected to the whole person and potentially positive. If met and treated in an appropriate way, illness may bring opportunities for a new balance in your life. Anthroposophical doctors are fully qualified in conventional medicine. In addition to medical techniques and treatment, this holistic approach may include dietary and nutritional therapy, rhythmic massage, artistic therapies (painting, sculpture, eurythmy, music, speech), hydrotherapy and counselling. Each person is seen as a unique individual with a spiritual as well as a physical and mental constitution, and needs to be treated accordingly.
Bodywork therapies, including Massage
In all types of massage therapy, the intention is to relax the soft tissues, increase delivery of blood and oxygen to the massaged areas, warm them, and help the body to relax. In a typical massage therapy session, the practitioner will discuss symptoms, medical history and the desired results. The practitioner generally performs some evaluation through touch before beginning the massage. Oil or powder help reduce friction on the skin and the therapist may use other aids, such as ice, heat, fragrances, or machines. Massage may be found to bring relief from everyday aches, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address feelings of anxiety and tension, and aid general wellness. It can also be used in support of other therapies to assist in the rehabilitation of muscular injuries.
Chiropractic specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, especially related to the spine. Chiropractic treatment mainly involves safe, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. In addition to manipulation, chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound and exercise, as well as advice about posture and lifestyle. Chiropractors are concerned with the framework of bones and muscles that support the body (the musculoskeletal system) and the problems associated with it caused by accident, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture, illness and every day wear and tear. There are many chiropractic approaches and techniques used around the world. The McTimoney approach, for example, is typified by a whole body assessment and swift, light force adjustments, which makes it a comfortable treatment to receive.
Herbal Medicine (Western)
Western Herbal Medicine is characterised by a person-centred approach, where the patient rather than the disease is the focus of the practitioner. The background to the patient’s condition is assessed through a thorough case history, taking account of family history, personal health history and lifestyle choices, and therapy is directed at the causes, not just the presenting symptoms. The practitioner uses the information obtained during the taking of the case history to make an assessment of the vitality and constitution of the patient. The choice of herbs in the prescription is based on this assessment. The prescription, rather than being based simply on the diagnosis of a disease or condition, is determined by an understanding of the significance of the signs and symptoms in that individual. Prescriptions may vary substantially between individual patients apparently presenting with a similar condition. Herbal treatment is commonly backed up by appropriate advice on lifestyle, particularly nutrition, and the practitioner works at all times to create an ambience of trust and positivism in the therapeutic relationship.
Osteopathy is a method of assessing, treating and preventing a wide range of health problems. Osteopaths use a combination of movement, stretching, targeted deep tissue massage and manipulation of a person’s muscles and joints to improve function, relieve pain and aid recovery. The principle of osteopathy is that the wellbeing of an individual relies on the way that bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and internal structures work with each other. An osteopath will take the time to understand their patient, and their unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. This helps to make an accurate diagnosis of the causes of the pain or lack of function rather than just addressing the site of the condition. From that they formulate a treatment plan that will achieve the best outcome. Osteopaths frequently work alongside other health professionals, such as GPs, nurses and midwives as well as alternative medical practitioners. Osteopathy works well to complement other medical interventions including surgery and prescribed medication.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an holistic approach to diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases by identifying patterns and then applying the individual or combined therapies of acupuncture (see acupuncture section), Chinese herbal medicine, tuina (a therapeutic massage), and other techniques. The fundamental theories of TCM include those of Qi, Yin Yang, the five elements, zang-fu, the four diagnostic methods and syndrome differentiation systems. It involves the use of natural plants and minerals. Each herb has its own specific characteristics and particular medical use for various conditions, rectifying the over-activity or under-activity of Yin and Yang, and helping restore the body to its normal physiological functions. The practitioner will conduct a diagnostic consultation, including asking you about your health problems, taking your pulse and observing your tongue, before making a prescription, which organically combines various herbs in accordance with Chinese medicine principles.
Yoga therapy may be a useful route for those who wish to develop their natural wellbeing. It is taught by yoga teachers with additional training and experience in the therapeutic adaptation and application of yoga. People may be taught one-to-one or in a therapy group setting. Yoga therapy may help with many issues and can be appropriate for a wide range of ages and lifestyles as well as those looking for a healthier way of life. Through practising a yoga therapy programme the participant may, for example, become more aware of posture and breathing. They may also find regular practice can help to promote relaxation, aid sleep and relieve tension; it may help to contribute to an increased sense of wellbeing and a positive mood. In a typical first yoga therapy session a medical history will be taken by the yoga therapist. The body, posture, simple movements and the breath may be observed and issues and concerns discussed. Working with yoga therapeutically is about the whole person. The yoga therapist will then assess how yoga therapy may help before planning and teaching a practice tailored to the needs of that individual. Practices may include one or more of a range of techniques such as posture work, breathing, relaxation, working with sound, reflection, and/or meditation. A number of sessions are likely to be needed to confirm safe and appropriate practice.