Treatwell: Beauty Salon Booking & Appointment App
The simple way to book beauty anywhere.
Download our free app.
Logging you in, please wait...
You are logged in
Log in to your account

Five alternative therapies that could help you stay fighting fit

From: Selected Treats,

Five alternative therapies that could help you stay fighting fit

The medical industry is tangled up in a continuing debate about the effectiveness of so called ‘alternative’ therapies. From acupuncture to visualisation, a multitude of studies are commissioned every year to investigate the effectiveness of the treatments that conventional science can’t quite explain yet, and in many cases, there is mounting evidence that they provide a viable wellness option.

Here at Wahanda, we’re all for anything that can improve your quality of life and so we’ve gathered together five of the treatments that have hit the headlines recently for all the right reasons so you can give them a go and experience any benefits first-hand.


Muscle pain and migraines are just two of the common complaints that acupuncture has been said to help shift.

Studies by York University that were published in medical journal Brain Research earlier this year show that the ancient Chinese treatment deactivates areas within the brain associated with pain processing, helping to dull niggling aches and make chronic conditions more manageable. The results back up previous reports from UCL and The University of Southampton that used positron emission tomography (PET) to measure brain activity during acupuncture. When compared to a placebo faux-acupuncture treatment, the academics found that the pain controlling insular area of the brain was only activated when genuine acupuncture techniques were used.

The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating period pain was also outlined in research involving 3,000 women in South Korea and the treatment could even help with largely psychological complaints such as stress and depression, as a Stanford study involving pregnant women showed that over 60% of participants experienced a significant reduction in symptoms following targeted acupuncture sessions.

The NHS’s decision to recommend acupuncture to patients suffering from lower back pain shows that Western medicine is slowly accepting the treatment as a legitimate alternative and supplement to drug and physical therapies.

If you wish to see if acupuncture can help you to chill out or hold off persistent pain, then check out our offers, including today’s fantastic spotlight offer.


Now respected rather than ridiculed, confidence in the power of meditation has gone from strength to strength in the last decade.

A joint study by the University of Oregon and Dalian University of Technology that is soon to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently recorded the effects of integrative body-mind training (IBMT), a type of meditation technique formulated in the 1990s from traditional Chinese medicine that is regularly practiced by thousands of people in China. Whereas a control group who received relaxation training showed comparatively little change in brain activity when specialised imaging software was used to monitor neurological function, the group participating in meditation sessions displayed a larger number of connections in their anterior cingulates (the specific part of the brain which regulates emotions and behaviour).

The ability to activate this area of the brain through a non-invasive and simple activity could lead to improvements in the treatment of attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression and schizophrenia- conditions which are all associated with impaired anterior cingulate cortex functionality. Researchers also revealed that during the course of the experiment, those that undertook eleven hours of meditation training exhibited lower levels of depression, anxiety, anger and fatigue when compared to the control group, leading to theories of white matter reorganisation and strengthened brain matter connections (possible improvements in brain malleability) amongst scientists. An earlier study by the same institutions showed that just five twenty-minute sessions of IBMT resulted in a significant reduction in stress related illnesses and blood pressure levels amongst participants.

Other trials have reported that those who practice meditation can concentrate for longer and endure higher levels of pain, with the brain boosting improved focus lasting over five months following a three month meditation retreat.

Chinese Medicine

Some of the more questionable ingredients traditionally used in Chinese medicine have meant that its healing credentials have often been played down. However, some of the herbal remedies that have been used to combat nausea in Asia for centuries have been found to not only help with the side effects of intensive cancer treatment, but also to increase its effectiveness.

An investigation by Yale University found that mice who ingested Huang Qin Tang mixture (a formula that contains peony extract, skullcap flowers, liquorice root and buckthorn tree fruit) not only recovered from chemotherapy-induced intestinal tract damage more quickly than those in a control group, but they also felt the benefits of reduced inflammation, increased gut lining protection and amazingly, a boost in chemotherapy effectiveness against colon and rectal tumours.

Autoimmune diseases and eczema may also be treatable with Chinese herbs. American trials have found that drinking Erka Shizheng Herbal Tea twice a day, soaking in a related herbal bath for 20 minutes daily and applying a similar herbal cream to their skin two or three times a day reduced the severity and frequency of eczema outbreaks in fourteen children over the course of two years.

Another herbal extract that was previous developed as a potential anti-malaria drug was found to target and inhibit a specific type of immune cell known as Th17 cells back in 2006. Th17 cells regulate the body’s inflammatory response; a reaction that automatically spirals out of control in sufferers of diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, eczema, and psoriasis. Current drug treatments of autoimmune conditions suppress all immune responses, with no option to inhibit individual over-reactions, and this leaves patients’ systems open to infections and cancer. If halofuginone extract can be further isolated, this may no longer be the case.

To try Chinese herbal medicine for yourself, make sure you check out our list of registered practitioners and centres.


Homeopathy has certainly had its share of high profile detractors. The diluted substance approach that the therapy adopts is meant to trigger a form of ‘immune response’ within patients, helping them to build up a tolerance to irritants. Sceptics claim that a lack of scientific backing makes homeopathy treatment no more effective than a placebo, but the results of a long term study in Cuba, where yearly Weil’s disease infection rates dropped significantly in a population treated with homeopathic remedies, have stopped those who dismissed the treatment in their tracks.

Homeopathy’s ‘like cures like’ principle means that there are a wide variety of conditions that can supposedly be treated using tailored preparations in tablet or liquid form and as the aim is to build strength within the patient to prevent further illness (as with vaccination), both chronic and acute illness may be treated. Due to their low concentration of active ingredients, the majority of preparations may also be taken alongside prescribed drugs to help complement existing treatment programmes.

If you have been blighted with recurrent infections (such as tonsillitis or cystitis), long term skin conditions (including psoriasis and eczema), menstrual or menopausal problems, migraines or stress related symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue and insomnia and wish to try a different approach to healing, take a look at our listings for venues offering homeopathy consultation and treatment.

Tai Chi

Perhaps the most sedate of the martial arts, tai chi’s gentle movements are tied to the ancient Chinese belief that to stay healthy, a smooth flow of energy (or ‘qi’) must be channelled through the body. Originally based on the principal of exchanging energy during combat, the graceful stances and movements involved in tai chi have been shown to improve the wellbeing of many patients suffering from arthritis. Pain reduction and increased mobility have been reported by class participants following as little as ten to fifteen minutes of tai chi and following a course of sessions, strength levels and balance were also found to be improved.

Further studies have also highlighted symptom relief felt by Fibromyalgia sufferers after a series of tai chi classes and asthma patients have noted that their breathing, peak flow and oxygen consumption improved following tai chi training. Those without longstanding conditions can also benefit from the relaxation derived from lessons, as researchers have stated that participants slept better, had more energy, and had better physical and mental health overall after taking part in studies.

To find the nearest centre or instructor offering tai chi in your town or city, browse our listings.

If you decide to give any of the above treatments a try, why not leave a review on site to help others decide whether to check them out. If you’re on Twitter, give us a post-treatment tweet to Wahanda telling us how things went too!

Share this


Alison is a freelance journalist, blogger and life-long Londoner. A subject matter magpie and self-confessed make up junkie, if it's new, a little bit different and promises great things, she'll be onto it in a flash.

More Entries

Treatwell loves: Super-polishes

Treatwell loves: super strawberries

Spa of the week: Tylney Hall Hotel and Spa

Tried and tested: Perfect Posture Session at Anamaya

Treatwell guide: ironing out wrinkles with thermage

Tried and tested: Pre-wedding pamper package at Michaela Mitoi

Treatwell loves: summer spa-ing

Treatwell loves: Sweet summer nail art

Treatwell guide: Lee Garrett talks treating hair loss

Treatwell loves: shine in jewel tones this winter

Treatwell loves: skin soothing solutions for National Eczema Week

Treatwell guide: fix your feet and walk tall

Treatwell loves: post-holiday healing with essential oils

Treatwell news: Champneys Tring to launch fertility programme

Treatwell news: JooMo brings truly 'natural' beauty to UK shelves

Treatwell news: The Sanctuary joins Vogue's 'Fashion's Night Out'

Treatwell news: UK’s first children's acupuncture clinic opens in London

Treatwell loves: Olympic winners and their local spas

Treatwell news: Lifehouse Spa launches partnership with ESPA

Tried and tested: soothing spa kits from Keep Immaculate

Could a coffee fix improve your memory?

Wellness profile: Rebecca Mayhew

For fitness with a tree top twist, Go Ape

Is the secret to healthy eating written in the stars?

Turn back the clock with just a smile

Creativity's mane event: Psionics Hair Show 2011

Tried and tested: Vita Liberata self tan

Reassess your activity levels and improve your health

Revealing the June Wahandies winners - gentlemen, this month it's all about you!

Stress and the city

Seeing red?

Stay sun aware: stay safe

Hypnobirthing hits Hollywood

Could back pain shrink your brain?

The Bikini Workout from Sienna Spa

Giving Britain something to smile about

The price of junk food? Britain's health

Uplifting skin solutions from down under – tried and tested: Sasy n Savy

Melvita opens enchanting eco store in Putney

Camouflage and cunning cover ups

Treatwell visits the Vitality show

Hypoxi therapy: more than just hype

McIndoe and PharmEcosse Ltd investigate the healing power of insulin

Radisson brings the stars to Guildford

Tried and tested: high glamour blow-out at The Blow Bar, Islington

Life's a BLEACH at Topshop

Be the mane attraction

Drastic divorce makeovers and promotion-seeking plastic surgery

Brow lifts to lift the pain of migraines

Bring out the bunting and balloons for our birthday bash!

Shun Cupid and get glammed up

The Mere the merrier this Valentine's!

Help to mend rather than break hearts this February

Woo your date with dated bookings

Dare to bare for these Valentine's treatments

Will you be adding budget beauty treatments to your basket?

Food for thought: National Obesity Week

Up your berry intake and lower your blood pressure

Take the plunge and sign up for Swimathon 2011

Saving face: women are budgeting for Botox

Get your skates on!

Sort out your seasonally stressed skin

Are you tough enough to take on the Soldier Challenge?

Restore your joie de vivre at The Vitality Show 2011

Make a day of your mani at Nailgirls, Islington

All Brits want for Christmas is their two front teeth

For magical Christmas gifts, look no further than Treatwell

Merry Fish-mas!

Have yourself an Elemis-y Christmas

New Year, new you: 2011 toning-up trends

Plum: the new fragrance by Mary Greenwell

Bliss Christmas Customer Event

Blister busting Botox?

Wellness profile: Anne Biging

Treatwell on wellness: An interview with Anne Biging, Healing Hotels of the World

Give in to a gill-ty pleasure as Aqua Sheko comes to Soho

Downward dog; upward spirits

Posh pooch pampering at Harrods

The (bleached) end of perfect dye jobs?

Pre-Xmas fun with The Beauty Lounge

Bird beauty: Flamingos paint their quills

Slim without visiting the gym

Dream a little dream WITH me

Celebs turn their backs on Botox

Feed your gums

Fab craze or plain crazy? The chipped varnish manicure

Like a gym bunny...

Top pampering with lustre and bling

Jet set beauty

Eastthorpe set to raise brows as it goes HD

Stay slim; make sure your wallet’s bulging

Monday’s child is... lactose intolerant?

Salvage your skin: how to eliminate stretch marks

The mane attraction

It’s strictly pilates, darling

Stub out your smoking habit

Coming soon: sunshine in a tube?

Women prefer to see their cups half full

Stay sharp: let your mind (and body) wander

Say bye-bye to your BMI?

The Tan Factor comes to town

Acupuncture baby, yeah!

Apples and pears

Exercise, socialise and challenge mental health stigma

Science has spoken: beat stress with massage

Shimmer this winter with silver locks

Think before you ink: time to zap those tatts?

Weird and wonderful wellness mongrels

Injecting trust into the cosmetic industry

Polish those pinkies in aid of breast cancer charities

Tried and tested: the hottest thing in detoxing, Iyashi Dome

A stem cell smile?

A stitch and line reverses time

Top of the chocs

Think pink this October

Your health’s best friend?

Forget man flu, is there such thing as fat flu?

Store-hoppers: splash out and treat your feet!

The Minx effect

The ins and outs of Olympia Beauty 2010

Stealthy secret surgery figures soar

Ditch the itch this autumn

One feline's rehab is coming along swimmingly

Put your best foot forward

Turn that frown upside down

Sniffing out some original exercise

Is CO2 the anti-ageing jab for you?

Kayoga™ - hit the beach and strike a pose

Champneys champions Breast Cancer Care

Cupping and meditation: Jessica Simpson's path to tranquility