The following systems are complete sets of theories and practices, centring on a philosophy or lifestyle:
Homeopathy is based on the theory that a substance, which causes similar symptoms to those of the illness being treated, can be used in tiny amounts to treat those symptoms. Homeopathic remedies, which come in tablet form, liquid or creams, contain very diluted forms of these active ingredients. In the UK, homeopathic remedies may be sold over the counter. Some GPs and hospital doctors are trained in homeopathy, and homeopathy is sometimes available through the NHS.
The British Homeopathic Association: www.trusthomeopathy.org
According to naturopathic practice, disease occurs when toxins that have accumulated internally - often due to incorrect lifestyle, a poor diet, and improper care of the body - weaken a person.
While conventional medical treatments may rid the body of symptoms, Naturopaths believe that these treatments alone do not bring about true healing. Rather than trying to attack specific symptoms and diseases, traditional Naturopaths focus on educating clients to lead healthier lives and on the use of naturopathic modalities such as light, water, herbs, healthy foods, and exercise to cleanse and strengthen the body and support its natural healing process.
The British Naturopathic Association: www.naturopaths.org.uk
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Sometimes called Chinese medicine (CM), this is a traditional medical system. It has a holistic approach to diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases by identifying patterns and then applying the individual or combined therapies of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina (a therapeutic massage) and other techniques.
Its unique characteristics, which distinguish it from 'orthodox' medicine, are rooted in the concept of 'holism' and 'treatment according to syndrome differentiation'.
See the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine: www.atcm.co.uk