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Complementary Therapists > Complementary Therapy Types

Types of Complementary Therapy

Complementary therapies generally fit into two main classifications - physical therapy and psychological therapy. There are also practitioners that believe there is a third classification, that they refer to as energy therapy.

Some therapies may work through physical manipulation or activity or by introducing the client to alternative holistic medicines, such as herbal or homeopathic substances, or by treating the client's psychological state through visualisation, through meditation or music. Some clients find that they prefer to use multiple therapies and tackle their issues in varying ways. But most complementary practitioners will look at all aspects of their clients in a holistic manner.

Physical Complementary Therapies

Physical therapies approach the client mainly through the body. The treatment can either be passive on the part of the client. Examples of this would be massage or acupuncture.

Active treatments include the likes of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. Some, such as Yoga, also emphasise the client's psychological state, while physiotherapy, for example, is purely physical.

Physical therapies also incorporate those that offer the client non-mainstream medicines, such as herbal remedies. Dietary therapies also focus on achieving the correct balance of food intake.

Aromatherapy, which employs natural fragrant oils to create mental dispositions, is also a physical treatment in part, in that the client is absorbing the fragrances through their senses and that this may be through physical massage.

Psychological Complementary Therapies

Psychological therapies deal with mental and emotional conditions. For those clients that are suffering physical pain in addition to those whose ailment is due to stress or emotional pain, psychological therapies are used to promote overall relaxation. These treatments can also be active or passive. Clients can listen to or make music or paint, or be steered through meditation or visualisation techniques.

More serious Psychological and emotional states are usually treated with therapies such as counselling, psychotherapy and / or hypnotherapy for severe emotional distress, obsessions, addictions and phobias.

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Energy Therapies

The human body has subtle or discreet energy field or life force is addressed through energy therapies. The energy is said to be channelled through pathways, called meridians. In Chinese medicine there are energy centres, known as chakras, which are used to focus different types of energy. Energy therapies are often based on Eastern concepts of health and disease. They work on the basis that sickness is the outcome of an imbalance in the body's natural energy, life force, or Chi at a very subtle level. Eastern culture ideas of energy are increasingly being employed in the treatment of pain. These therapies include acupuncture, acupressure and faith healing amongst others.

How Complementary Medicine is Practised

Complementary therapies can be loosely divided into two main categories: therapies that are self-administered and those that are administered by an expert practitioner. The manipulation therapies, such as osteopathy and chiropractic; and the psychological therapies, such as counselling, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, are in the other category.

Some self-administered therapies actually fall into an halfway category, in that, at first, they require expert diagnosis and treatment or else they require that the client receives tuition before they can safely and effectively carry out the treatment at home.

This category incorporates physical therapies such as aromatherapy, some dietary therapies, movement therapies such as Yoga and Tai Chi, energy therapies such as Shiatsu, and psychological therapies such as meditation.

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