Complementary therapies are treatments that fall outside of mainstream healthcare.
These medicines and treatments range from acupuncture, reflexology, shiatsu to aromatherapy and various forms of massage. There is no universally agreed definition of complementary therapies, although “complementary and alternative” is often used as a single category, it can be useful to make a distinction between the two terms.
The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) uses this distinction:
There can be overlap between these two categories. For example, aromatherapy may sometimes be used as a complementary treatment and in other circumstances is used as an alternative treatment.
Across the world more and more complementary therapies, medicines and modalities are being embraced as preventative approaches and or solutions to improve health and wellbeing. At Strong Hope we believe incorporating complementary therapies into our clients’ health, fitness and wellness plan can offer significant benefits and helps reset the balance of mind, body and spirit.
It is our firm belief that complementary therapies support the body’s natural healing mechanism, supports homeostasis from a whole being perspective, helps reduce stress and anxiety, aids the stability of the immune system, improves sleep, improves the absorption of nutrients and supports cell production, rejuvenation and repair.
Modern-day living keeps thousands of people in high fluctuation between “Fight or Flight”, the excited mode overstimulating the sympathetic nervous system and very little calming mode – the parasympathic nervous system. Using complementary therapies helps return the body and mind to the calm state, where natural healing can take place. Each therapy, modality or technique will have its own description of how it works and what it may do for our clients but some of the complementary therapies we provide are as follows:
Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicinal therapy related to acupressure in the sense that it focuses on stimulating certain healing points around the body called acupoints. These points in turn stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. Rather than using the fingers to stimulate these areas, acupuncture involves the insertion of very tiny needles into the top layers of the skin and muscle by a registered acupuncture practitioner.
Benefits: Clears energy blockages in the body, relieves sore, spasming muscles, alleviates stress, aids better, deeper sleep and strengthens the immune system
Aromatherapy is the method of using the scents and aromas of essential oils to alleviate a range of emotional and physical concerns, from stress and anxiety to blocked sinuses, pain and cognitive function. Often these are provided as an aromatherapy massage
Benefits (these are dependent on the type of aroma/scent used): Induces sleep, relieves stress, alleviates headaches, aids digestion and strengthens the immune system
Reflexology is a type of therapy that involves applying pressure to certain areas of the foot and hands. It is based on the belief that certain regions of the foot and hands are directly connected by nerves to other areas and organs and muscles around of the body (such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, or brain) and that applying pressure to these areas helps to stimulate recovery and good health in its corresponding organ.
Benefits: Stimulates nerve function, relaxes and relieves stress, relieves tired and tense feet and ankles and eases anxiety and stress
Shiatsu is a type of physical therapy that uses massage to increase the function of the body’s immune system in order to bring about healing for a range of emotional and physical conditions. It focuses on discovering the energy imbalances in the body, and then manipulating certain points along the body’s meridians in order to bring balance back to the body. The Japanese word shiatsu translates to English as “finger pressure”, however in a particular session, the practitioner may perform light assisted stretches on the client, as well as joint rotation and gentle shaking of the limbs.
Benefits: encourages deep relaxation, reduces stress and stimulates the immune system
Yoga is a thousand-year-old form of spiritual and physical practice that involves various sets of postures, stretches, visualisations and breathing exercises performed in a sequence. There are many different types of yoga, each with its own theories, benefits and postures (asanas). Common variations include hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga and power yoga. At Strong Hope, yoga is practised in a group environment
Benefits: Increased flexibility, gently strengthens the muscles, promotes a calmer and centred mind, realigns joints and muscles, alleviates stress and anxiety and aids sleep
Pilates aims to strengthen the body in an even way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing. Pilates exercises are done on a mat or using special equipment such as the Reformer, the Cadillac and Wunda Chair. With its system of pulleys and springs, handles and straps, the apparatus can provide either resistance or support, depending on your needs.
Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. His method was influenced by western forms of exercise, including gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling. Pilates immigrated to the US in the 1920s and opened a studio in New York, where he taught his method – which he called contrology – for several decades.
Benefits: Regular Pilates practice can help improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. For sports enthusiasts and dancers, Pilates can complement a fitness programme by developing whole body strength and flexibility and by helping to reduce the risk of injury.
Massage. A good massage is truly a treat and offers many health benefits however there are over 200 different massage techniques and types, all treating different needs and providing various benefits. At Strong Hope we offer eight types of massage:
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