Samuel Richardson had a difficult birth. He was born feet-first - the standing breech position. And his mother, Janet, a nurse at Lewisham Hospital's health service research unit, turned to homeopathy and osteopathy to relieve his suffering in the traumatic early days of his life.

'Because he had been born in an unusual position, he tended to hold his head on one side, which led to an overdeveloped muscle in his neck,' said Mrs Richardson.

After 10 weeks she also discovered that Samuel had a hole in his heart, which needed major surgery.

After an operation at Guy's Hospital, she gave him a homeopathic remedy, arnica, which minimises bruising.

'Samuel had no bruising at all, which the doctors said was very unusual, in view of the fact that they had to open up his chest for the operation.'

Samuel later saw an osteopath to try to straighten him up a little. 'It was very gentle movement. They simply put their hands under his spine and moved his head around a bit. He just lay there and chuckled.'

The five-week private weekly treatment cost pounds 100, but Mrs Richardson said that it was well worth the money.

'His neck is much better now and he has lost the tendency to twist to one side.

Samuel is now almost six months old and the impressive results have helped to convince his mother of the need for the complementary

therapy clinics.

'I think it is important that these services should be available on the NHS, she said.

(Photograph omitted)