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Complementary health in Singapore: Different holistic healing methods

By: Verne Maree

Though few of us look forward to visiting a doctor, much less a hospital, Western medicine retains an important place in the management of our health. But we’d be foolish not to take advantage of the plethora of complementary health modalities out there, says Verne Maree.

What a healthy looking snap

You’re not going to call your hypnotist for advice on hot flushes, or experiment with acupuncture when you’ve broken your leg or your appendix has erupted. Complementary health practice truly comes into its own not when you’re acutely ill, but when you’re looking for proactive ways to improve your general health and wellbeing.

Whether you call it complementary, alternative or integrative health, awareness of these options is growing by the day. This has much to do with the rise and rise of the internet, and hurrah for that.

Even governments and healthcare bodies, notoriously slow to change, are increasingly recognising alternative modalities that they may have completely dismissed a few years ago.

So, what’s the approach taken by the US’s first countrywide medical aid? Obamacare recognises four categories of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine):

* natural products, such as herbs, vitamins and minerals and probiotics;
* mind and body practices such as chiropractic, osteopathy, massage and yoga;
* other complementary health approaches such as ayurvedic medicine, TCM, homeopathy and naturopathy; and
* “frontier medicine” such as bio-electromagnetic therapy and reiki.

Ideally, every GP should have a genuinely holistic and preventive approach that includes a sound understanding of nutrition in particular. I think it’s a shame when government health bodies direct medical doctors to prescribe only drugs, and actively discourage them from correcting vitamin and other deficiencies through supplementation; or don’t allow them to prescribe lower-risk natural alternatives, for example bio-identical hormone therapy instead of HRT drugs.

It’s also a shame that my medical insurance from BUPA does not pay for bio-identical hormones, though it does reimburse me for the relevant blood tests. Mind you, BUPA probably doesn’t pay for outpatient drugs, either. I can’t remember; it’s been so long since I needed any. (Touch wood.)

And I firmly believe that that’s because my wonderful Singaporean GP has an integrative approach, I’m physically active, and – most vitally – I let food be my medicine. Most of the time, that is. Sometimes, only wine will do the job.

Living a healthy lifestyle, day in, day out 

#1 Live Well!
Body with Soul’s 12-week Health and Wellness package is the ideal way to kick off a new, more health-conscious way of living. Starting with a medical health screening  and a complete nutritional assessment, its goal is to educate you about positive lifestyle changes. Remember, dieting is not a lifestyle.

Who does it?
Complete Healthcare International
’s medical doctors, and Body With Soul Total Healthcare Network’s nutritionist, counsellor and sport trainers, who will follow you all along the way.

Who is it for?
Anyone who is looking for lifestyle changes in order to live well and stay well. Rather than just another weight-loss challenge, it’s an educational programme where you’ll learn how to eat, how to move and how to stay fit for life.

What is it?
The Essential Health Screening package includes two consultations with a GP, and a full physical and medical overview using a standard set of laboratory tests.

In Week One, the Complete Nutritional Profiling and Screening includes a 60-minute initial consultation and full assessment providing an individualised diet and nutrition plan, plus a 30-minute follow-up session in Week Three.

A one-to-one session with a health-sport coach will assess your fitness level and set up weekly goals to achieve during the programme. Weekly classes with in-house trainers include outdoor training, Pilates, yoga, MMA and TRX. You can visit the health check station at reception area anytime you like for progress assessment and reports.

A counselling session with a counsellor, clinical psychologist or life coach will help guide you on your journey to a new you.

And the cost?   
$1,860, covered by some but not all medical insurance companies.

Body With Soul, 44 Rochester Park, 6770 0660

Try healing yourself? 

#2 Heal Yourself!
Innate is a unique form of chiropractic care that employs light touches to both ends of the spine, in lieu of the more traditional physical adjustments.

Who performs it?
Dr Lynelle Kerr, originally a traditional chiropractor, is the practitioner at Innate. She has been in private practice for 18 years, and has been living and practising in Singapore since 2000.

How does it work?
Light touches to the spine cue the brain to identify areas of tension and misalignment in the body. Once the brain is able to recognise these areas, it helps the body to release tension and realign itself. In effect, the touches awaken the body’s own innate healing powers.

Who is it for?
Anyone who wants to feel more successful and to achieve greater wellbeing, not just physically, but intellectually and emotionally as well. Innate aims to help people such as business executives adapt more effectively to stress, but also works with teenagers and with children as young as eight.

What are the benefits?
The many benefits include improved posture, long-term stress relief, greater mental acuity and endurance, an improved emotional state, enhanced performance, a better quality of sleep, increased energy levels and more.  
 



And the cost?
Fees vary; contact Innate for specific details. Medical insurance cover that includes chiropractic will also cover therapy at Innate.

Innate, 58 Club Street, 6835 9538

Go traditional! 

#3 Go Traditional!
Thomson Chinese Medicine
is headed up by physician Seah Ai Wei, offering treatment modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) and acupressure, or tui-na. The origin of TCM can be traced back to an ancient book, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, which was compiled more than 2,000 years ago. The philosophical framework presented in the book includes Yin-Yang, Five Elements, Energy-Blood and Zang-Fu Organs. These different theories form the foundation of TCM diagnosis and treatment. In general, a person with a balanced yin-yang constitution is deemed to be healthy.

Who performs it?
TCM physicians, who by law must possess a practising certificate issued by the TCM Practitioners Board before they are allowed to practise in Singapore.

How does it work?
On your first visit, a TCM physician will usually perform a comprehensive consultation to assess your medical history, your lifestyle and your emotional wellbeing. After checking the pulse and the tongue, he or she will make a diagnosis based on the framework mentioned above.

Who is it for?
Anyone seeking treatment that is complementary to conventional Western medicine, or who believes that prevention is better than cure.

What are its benefits?
It is a holistic way of health that takes into consideration the mind, the spirit and the body. What’s more, the treatments are non-invasive or only minimally invasive, and the medicines contain only natural herbs, minerals and animal extracts.

And the cost?
Consultation charges range from $20 to $50; acupuncture from $45 to $85 per session; and acupressure from $80-$120 per hour. The cost of CHM is $10 per day. Some medical insurances cover it.

Thomson Chinese Medicine. Visit website for details of clinics at Thomson Medical Centre, United Square and 112 Katong

 

#4 Go Under!
The Hypnosis Clinic
says that everyone can easily be taken into hypnosis, as long as he or she wishes to. In fact, you already know what hypnosis feels like, because you have experienced natural hypnotic states when drifting off while watching TV or daydreaming, for example.

Who performs it?
Jonathan Garside-Atkinson, a qualified practitioner who has been practising in London and Sydney for 18 years.

Who is it for?
There is a time in all our lives when we need a bit of a helping hand. Hypnotherapy is for people who are looking to change an old habit into something more healthy, resolve some issues from the past that are slowing them down, or give some of their natural abilities a bit of a boost. It can be used to deal with simple habitual problems like smoking, poor sleep patterns or overeating, to more complex psychological issues.

What are its benefits?
Weight reduction, happy and natural childbirth, better sleep, rapid healing, conquering anxiety and stress, letting go of phobias, heightening self-esteem, building strong and happy relationships, speaking confidently in public, enjoying flying, becoming a non-smoker – the list is pretty much endless!

How does it work?
Although hypnosis has been used since Egyptian times, its precise nature is still largely unknown. Nevertheless, it is a proven methodology for communication with the subconscious mind, which is the root of all our emotional behaviour. Working at the heart of the issue, it is effective and efficient, and most patients notice rapid changes that last.

And the cost?
Your initial consultation is free of charge; subsequent one-hour sessions are $300. Medical insurance does not cover hypnosis.

The Hypnosis Clinic, Novena Medical Centre, 6397 6073

 

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