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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss