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The Alternative - Book and Video Series for Discovery Health Channel

by Annie Moore with Brigid Martin

listed in complementary medicine

[Image: The Alternative - Book and Video Series for Discovery Health Channel]

These highly informative 15 video programmes and accompanying book are based on the 15-part television series aired during 2001 on the Discovery Health Channel, part of Discovery Networks Europe.

Each programme lasts 23 minutes; there are generally two programmes per tape. The topics covered include: back pain and migraine; osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis; insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome (me); depression and addiction; preparing for birth and mother & child; women's health and men's health; cancer; and skin and arthritis. In all, over fifty complementary therapies, from acupuncture to zero balancing, are included within the series.

Each programme begins with an introduction to the topic by an appropriate expert; these have included medical doctors, naturopaths, osteopaths, Chinese doctors, nutritionists and research scientists, to recall but a few specialists throughout the series. There then follow the stories – vignettes of the patients and/or practitioners featured in the particular programme. Generally three or four individuals, along with their treatment therapists are highlighted for each condition.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed viewing the videos, both for the significant amount of information conveyed and the enhanced impact afforded by this visual medium, which is unfortunately not available in the book. Additionally, professionally, I had an opportunity to 'eavesdrop' on many colleagues with whom I have interacted over the years. Some of the practitioners I recognized included Suzannah Olivier, Brandon Bays, Dr Alan Watkins, Susie Cornell, Harry Oldfield, Steven Shaw, Dr Robert Jacobs, Lynne Booth, Dr Sosie Kassab, Vicky Young, Alison Demarco, Mr Yehudi Gordon and Dr Marilyn Glenville. However, there were many more practitioners seen throughout these programmes whose work is, quite frankly, inspiring and uplifting both for patients and professional therapists alike.

Here is a selection of some of the approaches covered that stood out for me:

* The use of laser therapy (Mr Julian Winer) for osteoarthritis of the foot and knee – Arthritis;* The use of hydrotherapy (Ashleigh Wallace) for osteoarthritis post-operatively for rehabilitation of hip replacement patients – Arthritis;* Osteopathy (Nicholas Potter) for back and neck pain following injuries sustained in a fall – Back Pain;* Bowen therapy (Fiona Meek) for back pain following injuries and damage to the spine – Back Pain;* Electro-Crystal therapy (Harry Oldfield) for sciatica – Back Pain;* Alexander and Swimming (Steven Shaw) for back injuries – Back Pain;* Homeopathy (Dr Sosie Kassab) for complementary conventional cancer treatment – Cancer;* Misteltoe injections and anthroposophical medicine (Dr Maurice Orange, Park Atwood Clinic) – Cancer;* Colour therapy (Alison Demarco) for depression – Depression;* Reflexology and Flower Essence therapy (Karen Mittiga) for stress and depression – Depression;* Magnet therapy (Lilas Curtan) for migraine – Migraine;* Osteopathy (Nicholas Potter) for migraine – Migraine;* Acupuncture (Karen Byrne) for migraine – Migraine;* Flower Remedies (Beth Tyers) for mother and child suffering acute sleep deprivation following a difficult birth – Mother and Child;* Paediatric osteopathy (Stuart Korth) for 'colic' following a protracted birth culminating in a caesarean section – Mother and Child;* Water safety and swimming programme (Lauren Heston, Little Dippers) for a Downs Syndrome baby – Mother and Child;* Osteopathy (Mathew Shrock) for treatment of a mother for unresolved grief from the death of her own mother in childbirth – Mother and Child;* Exercise and Nutrition programme (Susie Cornell) for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients – Multiple Sclerosis;* Bowen Therapy (Katherine Ashby) for MS – Multiple Sclerosis;* Pilates (Trevor Blount) for osteoporosis patients – Osteoporosis;* Nutritional therapy (Suzannah Olivier) for osteoporosis – Osteoporosis;* Yoga (Alice Charlwood) for preparation for childbirth – Preparing for Birth;* Self-hypnosis and deep muscle relaxation (Gowrie Motha) for childbirth – Preparing for Birth;* Acupuncture and midwifery (Zita West) during childbirth – Preparing for Birth;* Acupuncture (Gretchen de Soriano) for dry, itchy and flaking skin – Skin;* Chinese Medicine (Dr Min Liu) for children's eczema – Skin;* Zero Balancing (John Hamwee) for menopausal symptoms – Women's Health.

The book, in addition has a comprehensive synopsis of the programmes and a useful Directory of Names and Addresses of practitioners and organizations.

Nothing is ever perfect, particularly in such a subjective arena as the visual medium, and some of the videos were more powerful and interesting to me than others. However, I think that this series would be an excellent accompaniment to every practitioner's waiting room.

Sandra Goodman PhD
B-line Productions
Videos series and Paperback

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