People seeking complimentary health treatment no longer need to travel considerable distances to obtain the specific type of therapy they require. This is particularly true of therapies that adopt an holistic approach to healthcare provision. Patients that are suffering from conditions that typically do not respond well to conventional medicine are seeking alternatives in considerable numbers. As conventional medicine is a system designed to treat the condition rather than the person as a whole, increasing numbers of people are interested in exploring complimentary health practices that view them as an individual.
This has never been more true than where acupuncture is concerned. Being an holistic therapy, acupuncture focuses on the entire body, with the intention of detecting subtle imbalances that affect the overall state of health of the individual. It is this person-focussed approach that seems to make it such a popular alternative to orthodox medicine.
The costs involved in seeking complimentary healthcare have been significantly reduced by the fact that there is a consistent increase in demand. This has been a critical factor in prompting the prevailing widespread provision of many therapies. All major cities in the UK, including Bristol, now have a broad range of practicing complimentary health practitioners, making the idea of pursuing an alternative health programme a local consideration.
But reducing the cost of travel is only one side of the equation. The fact that most of the complimentary health treatments are time intensive means that a patient will often spend up to one hour receiving treatment during each session. Whilst this compares well to the amount of time typically spent waiting in hospitals as part of an orthodox referral programme, the time spent with a complimentary health therapist is considerably longer than the average visit to the GP, which typically averages out at six minutes with the doctor. Again, this does not include time spent in the waiting room, which can often add another half an hour to the process.
It is important however, to distinguish between the time spent seeking treatment, and the time spent receiving treatment. The fact that waiting times impact the patient in an orthodox setting does not mean that this impacts the cost of provision. The reverse is actually true. The waiting room system is designed to ensure that it does not deploy the assistance of the health care professional, thus protecting their earning potential. This model is reversed in a complimentary health setting, where little time is spent waiting, and the large proportion of time is spent receiving treatment, thus diminishing the earning potential of the therapist.
Few complimentary health professionals are in a position to address this problem as they do not receive assistance from such comprehensive support networks like the National Health System. There are however, a small number of forward thinking therapists that have gone to great lengths to ensure that their expertise is available to all, by creating multi-functioning treatment spaces that address the needs of clients simultaneously. It is a very revolutionary concept here in the UK, but examples of this new approach can be found in Bristol and Oxford.