Letter: Holistic health goes way beyond the confines of Neal's Yard

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WHO are these women who "are constantly at the doctor's surgery"? Mothers in their thirties do not, in general, have time for self-indulgent fantasies; they may, however, look for time-saving, reliable answers to their daily needs, and find them in CAM.

Those answers may include a session with an acupuncturist, but are more likely to be found in a first-aid box filled with homeopathic and herbal remedies to help with teething, colds and bruises. The sessions on the couch are probably limited to the cranial osteopath, who will correct any mechanical problem with a new-born child. The crying of a colicky child will have been dismissed by the doctor as "something they go through". CAM-educated parents know better.

This applies to childbirth, too. Of the five friends, including myself, who did yoga during pregnancy, learnt about the birth process, used massage oils and herbal teas to encourage stronger contractions, and had waterbirths at home, all gave birth within five hours to healthy, happy, easy feeders who sleep at night. I've noticed that friends who did none of these ended up with nightmare births. This is no coincidence: stress releases adrenaline, which inhibits the flow of the labour hormone, oxytocin, meaning painful labour, and the possibility of a Caesarean.

Women need to read constructive information about health care. We're tired of the kind of disinformation which heaps scorn on those who have real experience to share.

Gilly Smith

London NW1