As humans there are a variety of things that can make us feel well or feel ill. We are affected by the place where we live – if there is damp in the walls it might provoke our asthma, if we have a garden to spend time in it can make us feel more connected and somehow better, if our neighbours are abusive this can make us feel scared and unsafe. All these experiences and more have an effect on our physical health (raised adrenalin and cortisol from fear and stress, which will raise our blood pressure), our mental health (we might feel anxious and not safe), our emotional health (we might feel scared), our sense of self and what we feel connected to spiritually.
Given that these are just a few aspects of our lives and most people have family, friends, work, food, history, dreams and so much more, it makes sense that our health is going to be impacted by a range of factors. It makes sense then to see a health professional who is able to find out about these different aspects of yourself and how they impact on your health.
One thing that complementary therapists all have in common is that they will spend time taking a detailed case history – asking you all kinds of questions and depending on the therapy they practice they might assess you physically as well. It will be important to find out what you are putting into your body (food, drinks, prescribed drugs, recreational drugs, herbal remedies etc) so that they can understand what pressure you are putting on your system and what help you are giving it. They will look for symptoms of an underlying state of health.
For example, if from your sticky eyes, your anger and your skin problems they conclude that you have a stagnant liver, they might work with that. If you work with your practitioner to take the steps necessary to help give your self the best chance to get better then this help really help things along. This can often mean making changes to your diet, doing exercises or adjusting some of your behaviour. It usually feels good to learn about how your body works and it will help you make choices later on. We don’t advocate boring, puritanical behaviour but understanding the consequences of your behaviour does allow you to make a choice.
One aspect of complementary therapy that is really important is the relationship you have with your practitioner. With the right one you will feel safe, confident that you are in good hands and you will probably benefit by seeing them again and having them remember where you have been and encouraging you on your journey to better health. If you feel in anyway uncomfortable with your practitioner, it's often worth talking to a friend to help you think things through and then think about changing to someone else. There are many practitioners and like all of us they have different styles and personalities and it is worth looking for one who suits you. The right practitioner can be an important part of your support system in your life.