Five of the World’s Most Popular Complementary Therapies

You may think complementary wellness is all just Chinese herbs and wind chimes, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has actually identified more than 300 alternative therapies which are popular in different parts of the world. While some are more effective than others – and backed up with more sound research – let’s take a look at some of the more popular alternative therapies, and how they might benefit your wellbeing.


Homeopathy – Founded by German allopath Dr. Samuel Hahnenmann, homeopathy is now a little over two decades old and is based on the principle of Similia Similibus Curentur. Translated into English, this means ‘a substance which produces symptoms in a healthy body, cures the symptoms in a sick body when taken in small, diluted quantities’. Homepathy is popular for skin ailments and in treating infants and children, as the medicines are sugary-sweet.


Acupuncture – This branch of Chinese Medicine goes back 3,000 years, and works by encouraging your body to heal itself and improve its functioning. When you put needles in the acupuncture points, you stimulate your nervous system to release chemicals in your muscles, spinal cord and the brain, which either change your experience of pain or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones.


Acupressure – This traditional Chinese medicine maintains the regular flow of your body’s bio-energy (or chi, as the Chinese refer to it). It entails using your own fingers, thumbs, elbows, palms and blunt metal or wooden instruments to increase your body’s resistance to disease, or get rid of aches and pains.


Unani – This form of medicine works on the belief that you can keep diseases at bay by the use of clean and fresh water, breathing clean air and consuming fresh food. You also need to maintain a balance between your mind and body, as this allows the metabolic process to more easily take place and evacuate your body waste. Unani medicine also believes that all life forms have originated from the sea.


Aromatherapy – This means ‘treatment using scents’ and cares for your body using pleasant smelling botanical oils such as rose, lemon, lavender and peppermint. Whether you add them to your bath, inhale them directly, diffuse them into the room or massage them into your skin, the oils can be used for the relief of pain, care for the skin, to alleviate tension and fatigue and invigorate the entire body.

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