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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

CASE STUDY
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on