Understanding Complementary TherapiesDownload this book (pdf, 985.59 kb)
Other types of complementary therapies
Two other therapies include homoeopathic and flower essence remedies. They are not the same, but they are made in a similar way.
The main (active) ingredient is diluted over and over again so the final remedy no longer contains any of the original ingredient.
Side effects: Homoeopathic and flower remedies do not tend to cause side effects because they are extremely diluted.
What it is: It is based on the idea that "˜like cures like'. That is, you are given a substance that causes similar symptoms in a healthy body as the symptoms you are experiencing. This is said to stimulate energy in the body that relieves the symptoms of ill health. Homoeopathic remedies are made from plant, mineral and animal substances. They are diluted in water and this is used to make the remedy.
Why use it: Homoeopathy is a gentle way to restore vitality and reduce emotional imbalances in the body.
What to expect: A homoeopath takes a case history that considers not only your medical history, but also the kind of person you are and how you respond physically and emotionally to your symptoms. A remedy is chosen and prescribed as liquid drops or tablets, which are taken throughout the day. You may also be given a cream for your skin, if appropriate.
Evidence: Anecdotal evidence shows that homoeopathy may help improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of people with cancer. However, scientific studies have shown mixed results. Some small studies suggest homoeopathy may help ease menopausal symptoms of women with breast cancer. One study showed it may reduce the heat sensation caused by radiotherapy.
What it is: Also known as flower essences, these are highly diluted extracts from the flowers of wild plants. There are many types of flower remedies from around the world. The most well-known in Australia are the original Bach Flower Remedies ®, developed in the 1930s in England, and the Australian Bush Flower Essences ®, developed in Australia in the 1980s.
Why use it: They are used to balance the mind, body and spirit so you are more able to cope with emotional problems, which sometimes can contribute to poor health.
What to expect: Much like a counselling session, the therapist will ask questions and listen to you talk about yourself, the problems you are experiencing and how you feel about or approach certain situations. This enables the therapist to prepare a remedy - usually a blend of essences - tailored specifically for you, which is taken in water several times a day.
Evidence: Scientific evidence does not support the use of flower remedies for treating diseases, however, anecdotal evidence suggests they are helpful for reducing fear, anxiety or depression.