Factors That Affect Access To Complementary Therapies

The term complementary medicine is used by conventional medical practitioners to refer to nom-invasive, non-pharmaceutical techniques which are used in conjunction with allopathic medical treatments such as drugs and surgery. The term implies that sometimes conventional medicine is used as a primary tool and also a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical complementary technique is used as a supplement when needed.

Complementary medicine has become an increasing feature of healthcare practice, but there still remains some confusion about what exactly complementary therapy is and what position the techniques included under this term should hold in relation to conventional medicine.

Complementary therapy is based on the interaction between the mind, body and the energy systems combining them; this holistic approach to healing is found useful for the treatment of many conditions, such as asthma, migraine, insomnia and stress. Reflexology, acupuncture, massage and reiki are some popular examples of holistic complementary therapies.

Complementary therapies fall into four main types of therapy; 1. Hands on, body manipulation therapies like acupuncture.

2. Energy based therapies like reiki 3. Mind body interaction therapies like EFT 4. Therapies based on other systems Patients or carers don’t have to have a particular health need to use complementary therapy. People often use them to maintain their general well-being or as something to treat themselves to. Most people can use aspects of a variety of complementary therapies as a means of support, which is safe and effective.

Complementary Therapy Examples

Holistic – Holistic therapy is a generic term for any treatment/therapy session that is intended to treat the individual as a whole on all levels – mind, body and spirit.

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Most complementary or alternative therapies could be regarded as holistic. Alternative – When an alternative medicine or therapy is used alone or instead of a conventional medicine, it is called alternative. Complementary – When treatment or therapy is done alongside or in addition to conventional medicine, it is referred to as complementary medicine as the two practices complement each other.

Describe the why the use of complementary therapies is on the increase and why this is the case

The use of therapies such as reflexology, acupuncture and herbal medicines has rapidly increased over the last two decades and is now used by around six million people a year. Britons spend  130m a year on complementary treatments and it is estimated that this will exceed to more than 200m over the next four years. Recent surveys found that using such therapies was especially strong among women aged between 35 and 54.

29% of the people interviewed had received some form of complementary and alternative medicine over the previous 12 months, with a very wide range of therapies being used. Compared to previous surveys in the UK there is an increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine, with over 75% still being provided outside the National Health Service, indicating that the general population is willing to pay for these treatments. Evidence suggested that integrated medicine – medicine in which conventional and complementary approaches are combined – is more cost-effective than conventional medicine alone.

The survey reported that the most used therapies, in order, were aromatherapy, reflexology, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and relaxation. Usage ranged from just over 14% for aromatherapy to 9% relaxation. Complementary approaches may involve self-treatment or a practitioner. Of practitioner treatments reflexology was most commonly used. According to the survey, acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal medicine were chosen most often for a health reason whereas aromatherapy and reflexology were more commonly used for wellness and relaxation.

It said common health problems were musculoskeletal, stress, women’s health and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In terms of how effective the treatment was, 74% of respondents who had received acupuncture thought it was definitely very helpful; the least confidence was shown in aromatherapy in that 17% said it was definitely not helpful.

Discuss the factors that affect access to complementary therapies

There are many factors which may either deter of influence complementary therapy. Complementary therapy is a natural therapy which is used instead of orthodox medication; there are many different reasons why individuals may choose to use their own remedies and therapies. These include:

  • Geographical.
  • Physical.
  • Social-economic.
  • Cultural.
  • Education.
  • Physical Factors.

Many individuals may experience many physical factors such as pain and mobility problems, some individuals may feel that taking orthodox medicines such as paracetamol may not be the best pain relief.

Different people may encounter different side effects from taking medicines therefore they may chose natural alternatives such as massages and acupuncture, the influenced therapies such as these as pain can be eliminated naturally without any side effects. However individuals may feel that therapies may not be the best option as you may have to have several treatments before the problem is treated, secondly individuals may use orthodox methods as the pain they are experiencing may go away much quicker.

Mobility is a factor that can either promote or hinder an individual’s access to complementary therapy for example due to an individual’s mobility they may be unable to gain access to the premises or the premises may not provide the facilities that are needed to accommodate for this individual. An individual with mobility problems may choose to use complementary therapies as certain therapies such as reflexology may help to ease the pain and help the movements in their joints. Geographical Factors; The area in which you live can have a great impact on an individual’s access to complementary therapy.

Individuals living in urban areas have a great range to centres that are available without them having to travel distances to access them. When living in an urban area, there are advantages such as public transport that runs regularly however the problem with this is that urban areas can sometimes be highly congested with traffic, this may discourage an individual to use certain centres due to busy roads. Suburb areas are the opposite as they are less likely to be congested as there is very little traffic.

As there is little public transport it can be very time consuming for an individual to travel far distances to access a centre. Individuals living in rural and suburb areas may have very few centres that are available. When analysing research complementary therapies are very common when it comes to culture. Not all cultures may use or believe in the same theories as they all come from different origins. For example within Africa some tribes forbid individuals to used therapies such as acupuncture as it is seen as witchcraft.

Within some countries such as America complementary therapies may be used regularly, the reason for this is that individuals have to pay for their healthcare therefore it does not matter whether they choose to use orthodox or complementary treatments. Most Chinese people tend to use herbal remedies as it is part of their culture. The herbal use of remedies among the Chinese may be due to the fact that herbal use is very common within the Chinese culture in general. Within the afro Caribbean culture complementary therapies such as teas, vitamins, nutritional supplements, are used very regularly as it is part of their culture.

Social economic; Your social class status can either hinder or promotes a persons access to complementary therapy. Your social class is divided into either categories with the lowest starting from one and the highest being eight. Depending on the social class of an individual is in, it will establish the wealth of that individual. From research on complementary therapies some treatments can be quite costly and most treatments vary. Most sessions normally last about 40-60 minutes at a time and depending on what treatment an individual needs depends on their circumstance, you ill normally need about 6-8 treatments.

You social class can prevent you using complementary therapies as it can be expensive. Education; Whether an individual has been educated or the type of education they may receive can either influence of deter the use and access to the therapies available. Many individuals will visit their GP, who will then prescribe them with orthodox medicine according to their needs. Many people have not been educated and informed about the many other ways their health problems can be treated, lack of education hinders peoples access to the services available as they are unaware of the choices.

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Factors That Affect Access To Complementary Therapies. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-the-range-of-complementary-therapies/

Factors That Affect Access To Complementary Therapies
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