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COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE

Below is a brief outline of a variety of complementary medicines.

ACUPUNCTURE

ACUPUNCTURE

The basic theory of this ancient Chinese medicine rests on the idea that the body is really a network of energy pathways called meridians. Illness are seen as blockages of the meridians, which can be relived by inserting stainless steel needles into specific points on the body.

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ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

HOMEOPATHY
HYPNOTHERAPY

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

A technique which strives to improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing by teaching you to use your body more efficiently, with greater balance, poise and movement, in daily life. This is a self administered technique which will take time to master. It's thus a long term maintenance rarther than a injury cure.

COMPLETE GUIDE TO ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

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KINESIOLOGY
MASSAGE
NATUROPATHY

AROMATHERAPY

This is a catch-all term for a range of treatments which use essential plant oils to improve general health and prevent disease. They can be administered by inhalation, massage or baths. Aromatherapy could serve as part of an overall body maintenance programme to relieve general aches and pains, or to treat particular problems like colds, cramps or cuts.

GUIDE TO AROMATHERAPY

AROMINNOVATION

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POLARITY THERAPY
REFLEXOLOGY
SHIATSU

CHIROPRACTIC

This deals with the structural relationship between the nerve tissues and the spinal column. Chiropractors, who have to go through six years of training before becoming registered, use gentle manipulation to treat problems as varied as headaches and leg pain. Although the treatment has a strong long-term passive benefit in preventing injury, it is also highly effective in treating actual problems.

ADVANCED CHIROPRACTIC NEUROLOGY CENTER

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YOGA
OSTEOPATHY
LINKS

FLOTATION

Lie back in a shallow bath of warm saline water. Deprive yourself of all external sound and noise. The feeling is akin to floating in space, and it fosters a natural feeling of relaxation without effort and clears your mind. It works on both a mental and physical level. It's ideal as a recovery from a race, or simply to relive some of the strain of an exacting training programme.

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HOMEOPATHY

The guiding principle of homeopathy is that like cures like. Its practitioners treat a problem by administering small amounts of vegetable or mineral substances which, in larger quantities, would actually cause symptoms similar to the problem. It's a curious but effective notion. It is most effective in treating the general muscular aches, pains and strains which surface in any regular training programme. Treatments are administered by tablets, pills, salts, potions and liquids. They can be relatively expensive, costing from 40-80.

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HYPNOTHERAPY

An increasingly topical treatment for sportspeople, especially in individual sports. It relies on activating the subconcious. By removing external distractions, relaxing and concentrating your mind, hypnotherapy helps you to focus on your specific problem or goal. A useful therapy for athletes who are struggling with mental barriers, lacking motivation or simply unable to relax fully before a big competition.

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KINESIOLOGY

The treatment works on a principle that certain muscle groups are related to specific parts of the body. Muscle tests, using light touch and deep massage, are used to detect and rectify energy blockages or imbalances, and this is supplemented by complete dietary advice.

HEALTH KINESIOLOGY UK

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MASSAGE

Massage is now so pervasive in athletics circles that it's hard to think of it as 'alternative'. It's a hands-on treatment which looks to maintain and improve the balance of the body's systems. It has direct relevance to athletes immediately after a hard training session or competition, when it's useful as a restorative, to bring life back to tired muscles and help clean out lactic acid. It can also deal with particular problems in the musculo-skeletal system, or simply act as a general relaxant and stress reduction device. 

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NATUROPATHY

This is based on four principles: the individuality of the patient; treating the cause of an injury rarther than just the symptoms; looking at the body as a whole rather than just at an injured area; and giving the body the chance to heal itself. Practitioners use a combination of osteopathy, diet and hydrotherapy. Naturopathy can treat particular illnesses or injuries, or generally help the body to gain its natural balance.

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OSTEOPATHY

The first complementary medical treatment to enter the main stream. It's extremely popular with a range of elite and non-elite athletes, both as a long-term body maintenance programme and to treat actual problems. It's a system of healing which works on the physical structure of the body. Osteopaths use joint and muscle manipulation, massage and stretching techniques.

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POLARITY THERAPY

Concentrates on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. It uses bodywork, awareness skills, diet and polarity stretching exercises to effect recovery.

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REFLEXOLOGY

A form of ancient Chinese medicine which works on the theory that every part of the body has a reflex point within the foot. By working with pressure on these points, blockages in the energy pathways can be released, which encourages healing.

MODERN INSTITUTE OF REFLEXOLOGY

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SHIATSU

A Japanese therapy which operates on the same principles as acupuncture, working the body's pressure points and energy meridians. Rather than using needles, practitioners use their fingers, thumbs and occasionally elbows, knees, hands and feet to massage the meridians and release and balance the body's energy flow.

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YOGA

Derived from the Hindu system of philosophy which aims to achieve the mystical union of the self with the Supreme Being in a state of complete awareness and tranquility. Yoga exercises and postures are designed to achieve the physical and mental well-being which leads to this stage, and thus represent more of a lifestyle choice than a treatment for any specific injury or condition.

YOGA DIRECTORY

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COMPLEMENTARY ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION