River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Holistic approach -- what is it?

May 2008

Pammie talks to Jan Fairweather about Holistic Medicine

As the pace of modern life accelerates and the pressures we are subjected to increase, our levels of stress and anxiety mount proportionately. We have never been more aware of the debilitating effect of stress on the human mind, body and emotions than we are today, and never have more solutions been offered to help us solve them.

Alternative, complementary and holistic medicine are all terms that we come across more and more frequently these days In the UK these therapies are more usually described as complementary medicine and doubtless you will have noticed a variety of holistic or complementary therapists advertising in our pages. What are they and how do they differ from allopathic or conventional evidence-based medicine?

Increasingly it seems that people are turning to, or more accurately returning to, ancient knowledge and techniques to solve the problems of modern everyday living. It is obvious that, as our medical knowledge and technology develop and expand, this means more and more specialisation in every sphere -- particularly in the treatment of illness, and from sheer necessity, we have had to forfeit our ability to treat the whole and to concentrate on the specific instead. Our modern physicians are simply not permitted sufficient time with each patient to adopt a leisurely holistic approach.

Broadly speaking, holistic therapies seek to treat the whole patient instead of just the illness. The emphasis is on treating the individual's overall physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being, and the main principle behind this is to balance these aspects of the human condition. A variety of therapeutic or preventative therapies are used that are not typically taught or practised in traditional medicine, and many of these are very old indeed and may accurately be described as "the wisdom of the ancients". Perhaps we are wrong to assume that our modern lifestyle has given us a monopoly on stressful living!

Jan Fairweather: The Power of Touch and the Feel-good Factor)

One such holistic therapist is Jan Fairweather, who established the Holistic Health Studio in Fincham. Over the last decade Jan has studied and mastered a wide spectrum of holistic therapies including Reflexology, Reiki (she is a Master and Teacher), Indian Head Massage, Hopi Ear Candling, Swedish and Balinese massage and Aromatherapy.

Doubtless this will sound strange and exotic to many, but Jan is far from what you may imagine to be an Eastern Guru -- tall, attractive and immaculately presented, one is immediately struck by her soft voice, warmth and naturalness. Jan was born and schooled in Norwich and after leaving school worked as a medical secretary and dispenser before leaving to bring up her family. However, Jan had always been interested in human biology, and, in addition, her own experience of the therapeutic effects of reflexology over 20 years encouraged her to study it and to become a practitioner herself. Gradually her interest in other holistic therapies grew and expanded to her present considerable repertoire. She works from home in Fincham and is a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists, possessing an impressive array of certificates which testified to her ongoing study.

Jan emphasises that holistic therapists do not claim to diagnose, prescribe or cure conditions which are properly the field of conventional medicine. They work as an adjunct and in a complementary and supportive sense. She points out that the comfort, reassurance and consolation of touch are an essential human requirement and form a large part of holistic healing. People who live alone are so often denied this.

80% of Jan's work is in the fields Reflexology and Reiki although the other therapies are always available for those who want them. Reflexology as a therapy can be traced back 4000 years to the Egyptian physicians who treated the Pharaohs. It was rediscovered as a therapy in 1913 by an American researcher and physician, who discovered that the use of pressure points enabled certain minor procedures to be performed without pain or trauma. The most convenient way of practising this therapy is through the foot -- there being a direct correspondence between points on the foot and the different organs in the body.

Reiki was developed a hundred years ago in Japan and literally means " universal or spiritually guided life force". It involves working with Reiki for healing of the self and others -- in the sense of regaining harmony and wholeness. It is claimed that we all have this power within us that need to be directed how to locate it, guide it and use it.

Indian Head Massage, demystified, is very straight forward and simple. In India, from time immemorial, people have used the benefits of massaging the scalp and hair with oil,not only for hair health but to relieve migraine and sinus problems. Indian children are introduced to it at an early age and it becomes one of life skills.

You may now be wondering what Hopi ear candling is all about. This is a simple procedure which equalises pressure in the ear and relieves sinus problems and other related problems of the ear, head and face.

The benefits of massage are well known -particularly to athletes, and of course there are many different methods. It would seem that regular massage is so beneficial because it encourages lymph drainage and eliminates impurities from the body, improves circulation and promotes deep relaxation..

To summarise, you will now have realised that there are a wide range of therapies that can help promote physical and mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and can lead to a feeling of Wellness, which in spite of knowing that one enjoys comparatively " good health" -- still escapes many of us!

Jan will be happy to answer any questions you may have about these therapies and you can ring her on 01366 347700

Pammie Walker

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