Many philosophies of health have developed throughout the world, resulting in different attitudes towards illness and its treatment. In this country most treatments are generally based on Western medicine, which uses a scientific model to prove the benefits of a particular treatment.
Some complementary therapies have their roots in Eastern traditions. Complementary therapies are generally viewed as treatments which are given alongside conventional treatments. Some complementary therapies may be available through the NHS (but not yet in Inverness, apart from limited referral to homeopathy).
Some treatments included in alternative therapies have historically caused a conflict of views between doctors and alternative therapists. Often this is because there has been a lack of valid scientific evidence available that these alternative treatments work. Studies of some complementary therapies such as certain types of psychotherapy, relaxation and hypnotherapy have shown an improvement in patients' quality of life and treatment side effects.
Certain complementary therapies, such as counselling, are now recognised by doctors for the positive effects they can have on patients' wellbeing. Other complementary therapies such as relaxation and massage, while not part of conventional treatment, are accepted by doctors because they can help people feel better and cope better with illness.