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The two sisters sat in the airport lounge, waiting for their flight to Kerala. It was delayed. They were keen to get going. Their mother had died the day before and they were going to settle her affairs. “She had a good life. She lived to 97,” explained one of the sisters. “You know what her secret was? Coconuts.”

THE shortlist; 10 WAYS TO GIVE UP SMOKING

Hypnotherapy: Maureen Kay quickly pinpoints the reason why you smoke in a pre-trance chat, making hypnosis more effective. One-hour session costs pounds 120. Contact The Good Health Clinic, 182-186 Kensington Church St, London W8 (0171 221 2266), or call the National Council of Hypnotherapists (01590 683770) for a hypnotherapist near you.

Trance meeting

Most people's idea of hypnotism is either a steely-eyed Svengali or grown men being dragged on stage and turned into thumb- sucking two- year-olds. Just what Serena Mackesy thought, until she fell under the spell of a certain Mr McKenna ...

Letter: Research into alternative medicine is alive and well

Emma Brooker says: "Health-Watch defines itself as `pro- science' and aims to dispel the miasma of woolly thinking and half-truth which, it claims, hangs over the world of alternative health".

Colin Stagg contemplates the truth

Man cleared of Rachel Nickell murder submits to trial by television, reports Louise Jury

Alternative methods of relaxation: Healthy Pregnancy

Last year midwives at Watford Hospital recruited more than 600 pregnant women to take part in a research project, writes Lee Rodwell. The results - now awaiting publication - will be of interest to those who believe massaging the perineum with almond oil can reduce tearing or the need for an episiotomy when the baby is born.

Aromatherapists pour oils on troubled ailments

Aromatherapy, once regarded as the preserve of cranks and "new-agers", has finally arrived in the mainstream and is becoming available on the NHS.

When the dream of motherhood dies

For many women the prospect of a baby is shattered by the nightmare of miscarriage.

Letter: Germ war

The arrogance of the Darwinian doctors never ceases to amaze me. For the past few decades, they have supported a system of medicine based largely on drug suppression of symptoms, and totally derided everything else. Now, according to Kenan Malik ("Why illness means health", Review, 23 June), they claim credit for common-sense ideas one can read any day in journals sympathetic to alternative and complementary medicine.

NHS 'rationing' to affect range of treatments

Infertility treatments and a range of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures are becoming less available on the NHS, according to the the latest survey of health authorities purchasing plans.

Cancer research muddle that put the fear of death into Sheila Hancock

Sheila Hancock will not forget the day she heard that the chances of her dying from her breast cancer had doubled. The prognosis came not from her doctor, or consultant, or nurse, but from the TV set in the corner of the hospital room where she was recovering from a gall bladder operation one autumn evening.

Hypnotic tapes claims were inflated

Paul McKenna, the television hypnotist, put his name to exaggerated claims about "powerful hypnotic tapes" his company was selling, the Advertising Standards Authority said yesterday. It was upholding a complaint challenging claims made for the audio tapes in a national newspaper advertisement.

Cold turkey can give you cold feet

For those addicted to their daily fix of nicotine, stopping smoking is as difficult as giving up heroin. But help is at hand. Sarah Lonsdale surveys the options

Interest grows in 'new' cures

GLENDA COOPER

Multiple choice Sclerosis

Beta-interferon is just the latest treatment for MS sufferers. Nick Walker looks at the bewildering array of therapies

Beta patient wins right to a brighter future

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'