What’s the alternative? Part 2

Read ‘What’s the alternative? Part 1’ here

We continue our quest for a good night’s sleep – and peace of mind during the day – by reviewing alternative therapies available across the UK.


What is it? Bowen therapy, or the Bowen technique, is a gentle, non-invasive, complementary holistic therapy. You remain fully clothed throughout the treatment – as such, it is suitable for childen, OAPs, anyone as well as 30-somethings like me that can’t sleep for worrying! It targets certain points on the body with gentle rolling manipulations to help it balance, repair and reset itself on a physical AND emotional level.

Expert view: I was intrigued by this treatment, which seems to combine the energy-lifting effects of Reiki with practical benefits of working the joints and muscles. I was treated by Oliver Paxton, one of Wiltshire’s leading Bowen practitioners. He said: “Bowen is all about balance – releasing built-up pain and stress, resetting the body through a combination of soft tissue adjustment and breathing techniques.

“Through this process, the body is realigned and rebalanced for optimum health and wellbeing. Some people get quite emotional!

“It can be used for physical pain AND emotional distress. Sometimes these go hand in hand.”

My view: This treatment is surprisingly gentle yet instantly effective. I felt more energetic for about seven days and pains in my lower back disappeared.

In terms of treating anxiety or depression, I would say it works in a roundabout way: you sleep better, breathe easier and tackling niggling aches and pains helps your mood.

I had three treatments, felt the effects for about seven days afterwards. I’m already planning to book in some more.

Regular treatments (around four-five) are said to ‘cure’ anxiety as such: my treatments were sporadic so I need a proper course to rate long-term effects.

More info: Bowen costs around £40 per hour; book in with Oliver at Equilibrium Natural Health in Corsham on 01225 696899; info@equilibriumnaturalhealth.co.uk. Find therapists elsewhere in the UK at www.bowentherapy.org.uk.



What is it? Aromatherapy is one of the most ancient techniques around, starting in ancient Egypt. It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell and produces feelings of relaxation. It can also be used for pain relief – lavendar, for example, is excellent for insomnia and headaches; chamomile and bergamot are mood elevators; combined with massage, aromatherapy can be energising, too.

Expert view: A spokesman for Research and Markets, who produced the report “Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Market 2016”, said: “Technically, aromatherapy means the use of aromas as therapy, or the use of aromas for their healing properties. However, there is an increasing move to use the term essential oils – which more accurately describes the existing market – as the therapeutic use of essential oils based on their aroma and properties, which includes internal use of the oils.”

My view: In my view, aromatherapy should not be used on its own to treat migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia – it’s more something to add onto other therapies. I use a spray on my pillow at night to help me sleep – Sasy n Savy is a fab Aussie brand now on sale in the UK. It’s more than just a beauty buzz; their lavender massage oil (£19.50) and floral spray (£19.50) are my secret weapons for a good night’s sleep. They tackle tension headaches and balance the body and mind all night, no matter what is bothering you.

More info: ifparoma.org


What is it? CBT stands for cognitive behaviour therapy. Essentially, it challenges your decision-making process; for example, has a past experience made you afraid? Do you struggle to leave the house because you fear something bad will happen? It challenges those thought processes and, as a result, encourages you to break the chain of negative thoughts that lead to negative actions.

Expert view: Prof. Shirley Reynolds, Director, Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading, said that CBT could work as well as anti-depressants but that more work needs to be done.

“We need more research on the possible side effects of both drugs and psychological therapies; we need better understanding of how treatments work and for whom each (drugs or CBT) will work best.

My view: CBT is very useful to break the pattern of depression and/or addiction and help you recognise how unhelpful thoughts can lead to negative behaviour. But it needs to be practised daily to be effective. It’s a tool to put in your toolbox but two or three sessions aren’t likely to have a long-lasting result. Go online to find exercises you can do daily to retrain your brain.

More info: Find a therapist near you at www.cbtregisteruk.com.



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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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