For those seeking alternative health care or natural health solutions, there are many natural remedies, holistic health centres and natural health supplements available.

Natural health centres 
Natural health centres offer a range of treatments to take care of your health holistically, looking at the health of your whole body rather than addressing a single health issue. Holistic health practitioners will treat the cause of a problem, instead of simply making your immediate symptoms disappear. Treatments available at natural health centres include:

  • Naturopathy: use of natural therapies in place of medications and surgery
  • Acupuncture: use of fine needles to pierce specific meridian (energy) points on the body
  • Aromatherapy: therapeutic use of natural extracts and essential oils from plants, flowers, herbs and trees
  • Massage: manipulation of the body’s soft tissues to heal muscular tension and promote overall relaxation
  • Homeopathy: use of natural remedies that contain small doses of natural substances to stimulate the body’s own defence and healing mechanisms
  • Herbalism: use of herbs, plants and plant extracts to treat ailments
  • Hypnotherapy: tapping into the patient’s inner consciousness to address core issues
  • Reflexology: use of pressure point massage on the feet, hands and ears to correct energy flow in the body
  • General nutritional advice: advice on good foods, organic diets and natural nutrition to promote health and wellbeing

Usually, these alternative health treatments can complement conventional medicine, but always discuss existing conditions, medications and treatments with your natural health practitioner.

Natural health products and remedies
There are a number of natural health supplements that can be bought over the counter at health shops, and used along with standard medicine to promote overall wellbeing. Some are scientifically tested; others are not. It’s wise to research whatever supplements and remedies you put into your body, and be sure to check with your doctor before taking any natural remedies in conjunction with prescribed medicines.

Popular natural health products include:

  • Manuka honey: a bee product known for it’s exceptional antibacterial and healing activity, and its great taste!
  • Deer velvet: a natural health supplement known for its general health benefits, plus joint and bone health, increased stamina and strength, and immune system support.
  • Lavender: can be used to treat restlessness, insomnia, abdominal complaints, rheumatism and loss of appetite.

Herbs and herbal treatments
The powers of natural herbs have been used for hundreds of years to treat a diverse range of health problems, from digestive disorders to circulatory and immune conditions. If this form of natural health treatment appeals, you may want to visit a professional herbalist for a consultation. Remember, though, to bear in mind the cost of herbal treatments will be charged on top of the practitioner’s fee.

Alternatively, you could try your hand at DIY herbalism by starting your own herb garden and growing your own natural herbal remedies. These are just a handful of herbs and medicinal plants you can grow in your own garden:

  • Aloe vera: the clear gel from this plant can heal wounds, ulcers and burns
  • Chamomile – has a calming, sedative effect and is used to treat many digestive disorders and nervous tension
  • Bergamot – use of leaves in tea can relieve nausea, menstrual pain and insomnia
  • Peppermint – the leaves can make a pleasant and refreshing tea, which can also help digestion and colds

Alternative natural health treatment 
A doctor will provide diagnosis and treatment with expertise drawn from their medical training; for complementary treatments (which work alone or alongside conventional medicines), visit a holistic health centre or natural health practitioner. These professionals can provide relief from conditions as diverse as arthritis, back pain, chronic conditions and dietary problems. They can also offer guidance towards overall health and wellbeing, weight loss and a healthy diet.