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Alternative Medicine Resource Guide
As the blurb would have it, 'the alternative medicine centre for today's needs.' And for those seeking a change from the medical establishment's recipe of drugs to treat the symptoms, there is a comprehensive menu of holistic therapies dealing with the root causes. Acupuncture, reflexology, herbology and hypnosis have all moved into the medical mainstream in recent years, but there are also links to New Age sites dealing with the less quantifiable benefits of astrology, Reiki, Kundalini and more.
Herbal Information Centre
Did you know that taking Cat's Claw can boost the body's immune system and so be a weapon against diseases of immuno-deficiency such as HIV. In fact, have you ever heard of Cat's Claw? This handy plant - a tropical vine that grows in the rainforests of South America and Asia for your information - is one of dozens of alternative and natural remedies listed on the Herbal Information Centre site.
International Center for Humor and Health
We love the idea of this site. It exists with aim of spreading the healing art of laughter. We all know we feel better when we laugh, but these guys claim that laughter is 'a strong curative that the world needs'. The centre also performs research on humour and its relation to health, education, happiness and social well-being. Sounds a bit serious in fact.
United Kingdom Alternative Health Centre
The Alternative Health Centre aims to be the official Internet resource of information, practitioners, businesses and events related to the practice of alternative health therapy in the United Kingdom. You'll find a guide for a specific remedies, treatment and/or practitioners in your area. And the site provides detailed information to help us lay persons cut through the mystique and make choices about the wide range of alternative health services and products.
Natural Land
Where alternative medicine meets dietary advice. The online US health magazine reflects the growing interest in the West in natural medicine and herbal remedies. Natural Land tends to deal with prevention as much as cure - so it goes heavily on eating the right foods in the right balance to prevent yourself getting sick in the first place. Includes features on weight loss, healthy cooking, organic foods and personal fitness.
Exploring the art of polarity therapy - polarity is the art and science of stimulating and balancing the flow of life energy within the human being. Sounds a bit new age - it is but it all makes perfect sense. The site has visuals of polarity therapy being practised and each demonstration is accompanied by a list of benefits - both physical and mental. The site has a serenity about it as benefits a mentally stimulating therapy and after you've browsed this site, you'll be looking up your nearest polarity therapist.
Ignore the home page on this site and skip straight to the yoga section. Anything and everything you wanted to know about the world of yoga is here. Find out the differences between Bhaki Yoga (the yoga of love and destruction) and Hatha Yoga (concerned with physical and energetical purification and training). The site is designed for those with an academic interest in the history and meaning behind yoga. You'll find ancient texts extolling the virtues of meditation and mental balance but for practical demonstrations you'll have to search elsewhere.
Loretta Elaine's Gems for Friends
No, we're not talking Richard Burton and Liz Taylor-style rocks here, but gems exuding life and spirit-enhancing properties. 'Explore alternative avenues for inner growth. Take control of your own life,' demands spiritual guru Loretta Elaine. Aromatherapy, Feng Shui, use of flower essences, gemstones, herbs, massage and bodywork are among the avenues signposted. Each section has a host of links to recommended sites, prefaced by explanatory editorial on their benefits.


British Deaf Association
British Dyslexia Association
British Institute of Learning Disabilities
National Autistic Society
National Disability Council
Royal National Institute for Deaf People
British Computer Association for the Blind
Royal National Institute for the Blind
Sight Savers International
Breast Cancer Care
British Heart Foundation
Cancer Research Campaign
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Diabetes UK
Imperial Cancer Research Fund
Macmillan Cancer Relief
Mind The Mental Health Charity
National AIDS Trust
National Asthma Campaign
Sickle Cell Society
Terence Higgins Trust
Introduction to First Aid
Very good starting point for any of us who've forgotten all we learned in our school first aid classes. Admirably straightforward, this largely text-based site is a series of links to short tutorials. You move from What is First Aid?, through the essential components of the first aid kit. The Accident Scene is as basic as telling you how to call an ambulance (many people panic and forget or assume someone else has done it).
Technical First Aid
Working on the show-and-tell basis, in other words it's pretty hard to describe to someone how to apply a sling without showing them, this site does just that with some useful pictures. Burns, broken arms, fainting and so forth, each section starts with precautions, leads on to actions, and then has a series of photos confirming the action you should be taking.
A little bit different to the standard repertoire of cold compresses and head between the knees, the Weleda site is all about the practice of first aid using homeopathic and anthroposophic medicines. In other words, herbal remedies that work with your body to rectify the problem. So you might use Arnica for sprains and bruises or Combudoron for minor burns or scalds. Or just pick a dock leaf to cure that nettle sting.
NHS Direct
NHS Direct is the Government's attempt to push the nation's healthcare online. Still at the pilot stage, the aim is to have nurses staffing a 24-hour helpline covering the whole of the UK in 2000. Cynics might suggest it's a DIY attempt at medicine, designed to save the Exchequer money, but what it does do is put you a keyboard tap away from expert medical advice.
First Aid Quiz
Bringing a welcome bit of fun to a sometimes grim subject, this site is the work of Year 6 pupils at Ambleside School. This is an excellent way to teach children the basics of first aid, and it makes it a lot more involving for adults too. A series of 10 multiple choice questions - Where do you check for a pulse? If someone has a bad burn what do you do straight away?, - plus more quizzes if you get hooked.
First Aid Skill For Life
The home page warns that 'the information given on this site should not be used as a substitute for a first aid course', but we'd be pushed to find a course quite as comprehensive as this one. Certainly our training in the Scouts never covered frostbite or phobias. Select 'panic attacks' say, and you'll be given a brief description, a list of symptoms, a menu of first aid treatments, and then links to other sites that will cover the problem in more depth.
Outer Limits
Okay, most accidents do happen in the home, but you're more than likely to pick up the odd knock and scrape if you're white water rafting down the Amazon or taking part in the Sahara Ultrathon. This then is a site dedicated to adventure travellers, starting with the wise advice that if you are going to put yourself into the back of beyond, knowing the numbers 999 isn't going to do you a lot of good and you should equip yourself with the basics.
St John Ambulance
Brought to you by the people you see patching up the general public at fetes, fairs and football matches, the St John Ambulance site carries the stamp of authority and experience when it comes to first aid. The site starts with a run through of the aims of first aid training in the workplace and a look at the legislation. Suitably chastened by your lack of knowledge, you can then get details of courses.


BBC Health

Of course, it doesn't do any harm having the resources of programmes such as Horizon, Maternity Hospital or the Human Body to draw on, let alone Holby City and Casualty. The Beeb's richest seam is, of course, its news and documentary programmes, and you'll find plenty of material from BBC TV news and Radios 4 and 5. And it's the ideal complement to your BBC viewing and listening, with the opportunity to dig deeper into the programmes broadcast. Even if you never switch on the telly or radio you'll find this a terrific standalone site, with fun features such as getting fit by doing the dusting, and vital news reports on breast cancer screening and the recent flu epidemic. The sort of site that gives the Web a good name.
Health Net
We Brits may be living longer, but the fact is that we're eating far too well these days, and that's one reason why heart disease is the single biggest killer of men and women in this country. The good news is that, for most of us, the remedy lies in our hands. This site targets kids as well as adults, as many of the bad dietary habits stem right from childhood.
Since the huge public health campaigns of the 1980s, HIV and AIDS have dropped from the front pages somewhat. Needless to say, it's still one of our greatest public health risks, and still one of our biggest taboos. This exhaustive site catalogues national and international links (AIDS is of course an enormous threat in many African countries), and also lists news sites, medical pages and the home pages of people with AIDS and their carers.
Alzheimer's Disease Society
As Britons get healthier and receive better medical care, we live longer and longer. The irony of this ageing society is, of course, that we become more prone to the diseases of ageing, such as Alzheimer's. This web site offers excellent support for those dealing with the onset of the disease and, just as crucial, for their carers and partners. Resolutely unsolemn, the site even has a memory quiz, looking at the practical aspects of how the brain works.
What is Sickle Cell?
The answer to that question is 'a common inherited abnormality of haemoglobin production'. The blood disorder almost exclusively affects Afro-Caribbean people and, tragically, is often a killer among children. This informative and cool-headed site talks worried parents through the facts about Sickle Cells, answers some frequently-asked questions, and looks at new movements in research. Also provides links to events and mutual help groups.
Yahoo Health
Whatever your condition, Yahoo's excellent health-specific search engine will point you in the direction of a multitude of expert doctors, self-help groups, discussion groups and useful literature. Typing in 'piles', for instance, called up the dedicated Yahoo page in seconds. Each page has a definition, alternative names, causes, prevention, symptoms, treatment and pictures (we skipped the last one). Most important of all, it gives advice on getting the right care and getting it quickly.
Parkinson's Disease
This disease of the central nervous system was first identified by Dr James Parkinson in 1817, when he described a condition which he called the 'Shaking Palsy'. In recent years, sufferers such as Terry Thomas and Muhammad Ali have brought the illness into the media spotlight. This site not only has links to just about every Parkinson's web site in existence, but includes invaluable information on dealing with the disease, including technology issues.
If you want to find out more about the genetic basis of diseases, this Cambridge University site makes fascinating reading. Alzheimer's Disease, Down's Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis and more are covered. Not just interesting to find out why our genetic material sometimes rebels, but because this raises ethical issues about genetic testing and population screening. If you ever worry about the medical profession knowing too much, this is a crucial site to visit.
Emerging Infectious Diseases
Here's a cheery little site to make you worry about the impending march of superviruses on the unsuspecting UK. If you thought Ebola virus and E-coli were yesterday's news, think again. The webmasters, based in Oldham, keep a keen eye out for recent reports of new outbreaks, the rise of global epidemics and the emergence of completely new bugs, such as the delightful flesh-eating virus of a few years back.


Tripod is a part of the Lycos search engine, and makes it its business to hunt down, catalogue and collate UK members' discussion groups. Given that a large part of searching the Internet is what you filter out, this is a huge bonus for subjects like this. It means that type in 'support groups' and what you won't get are people trying to flog you huckster-type remedies, you won't get glorified adverts, and you won't get US sites you can't use anyway.
A few years ago the Samaritans started providing an email contact service, in particular to provide a communications channel with a high risk group, young males. As the Internet audience has expanded, so has the Samaritans website, adding articles, history and fundraising details to the vital contact information. Topical help articles, such as one on coping with exam results, join statistics on suicide and reports on the cost of living. Stephen Fry, Imogen Stubbs and others provide a few words.
Thankfully, the days when cancer was the disease only spoken about in whispers, euphemised as the Big C, and where the prognosis was always bad are now mostly over. CancerBACUP aims to help people live with cancer by providing information and emotional support for patients, their families and health professionals. There are 1,500 pages here covering all types of cancer, and a personalised service allows you to gain information about your cancer and its treatment.
Health Centre UK
The type of excellent resource that has long been common (in Internet terms) in the US and is, thankfully, becoming more established over here. The Health Centre is, if not a definitive, then a quickly growing list of UK-based self-help and support groups, some maintained by the Health Centre itself, some merely links to third parties. Well organised, starting with a 'What's on the Web' section, a list of health providers, online manuals, discussion groups and on and on.
Patient UK
This UK site aims to help non-medical people find information about health issues primarily from UK sources. In other words, don't take the doctor's word for it, find out for yourself. An astonishingly detailed index of UK support groups, from professional bodies down to those founded by people who've been on the rough end of medical incompetence. Groups are broken down into Men's, Women's, Dental, Travel Health, and much more.
Self Help UK
A free service provided by a company called Acumen Solutions, specialists in health care applications on the Internet. What they've come up with is an excellent searchable database of over 1,000 self-help organisations and support groups across the UK, providing support, guidance and advice to patients, carers and their relatives. You can also quickly click to access the discussion forums hosted on the Health Index UK site.
The Site
More of a survivor's guide than a support group, but with solid advice on day to day challenges such as sex, drugs and money. The whole site has a kind of urban feel, but don't be fooled - this site can really help. Reliable answers to sexual health questions for both genders, whatever sexuality. Aids is tackled, so is abortion. Along with advice are the details of groups who can help. Not all is so grim - there is a sports section for those who want to do more and the Money part tells you how to get more. Advice on loans is fine - the list of grant giving organisations is better. Most of all this site is your mate, with a little more streetwise knowledge maybe.


Diet and Nutrition Manual
Enter the library. This is the intellectuals guide to diet and weight loss. The site takes the form of a web book and is packed with useful and in depth info. It's entitled the diet and nutrition manual and is an excellent reference if you want to dig deeper than the food plans and exercise programs. The site is in two parts. The opening page gives you little tasters of the main manual, and sections range from 'How your body works' to 'Reprogram your taste buds' and thankfully 'treat yourself'.
Health Net UK
If you click onto the web site of the Coronary Prevention Group looking for clearly labelled links to dry and scholarly articles about coronary issues, then you're in for a shock. Or a shockwave. Videos, sound, interactive games - the Health Net site sometimes comes on like a hyperactive tot who's swallowed too many E numbers, but hey, they're trying to make healthcare fun and pull in the teenagers too. We loved the cartoons.
Alternative Health News Online
The prospect of receiving daily updates on the latest in alternative remedies and discoveries on what's harmful could be a blessing or a nightmare depending on your equilibrium. But leaving aside the terror of clicking online one morning to discover salad, exercise and meditation have been discovered to be very bad for you, this site is slickly maintained and really covers the bases from ancient herbal remedies to the latest alternative therapies.
The Nutrition Society
The Nutrition Society is 'concerned with the scientific study of nutrition and its application to the maintenance of human and animal health', so among the many dozens of links on the home page, you'll find the Australasian Pig Science Association as well as the more predictable British Diatetic Association and the Association for the Study of Obesity. Excellent news pages keep you in touch with the latest research from around the world.
Institute of Nutritional Science
This New Zealand company aims to bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and the punter in the street. Figuring that most learned works in nutrition journals are unlikely to find their way into the hands of the people who need them, it puts together everyday language reports on the latest papers and research, so the public can benefit from the latest findings in nutrition.
British Nutrition Foundation
This is a top education site. A great resource for teachers and anyone wanting to understand dieting and their diet, the site is clearly and simply laid out with pages on nutrition facts, nutrition news and food education. This site tells you what you should be eating at different stages in your life and why, from babies to pensioners. Info is available on subjects from healthy teeth to food allergies and you can investigate carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins. The site even covers drink under the guise of alcohol in the UK diet. Will that glass of wine or pint of lager really fit into your diet?
King's College London Library
Most of us aren't going to get the chance to pop into King's College's excellent research library, but if you have a PC and Internet access then you're in business. A host of links to web sites covering diet and dietetics, and very useful pages on food safety, for instance. If you want to know the facts about GM foods or food additives then this is where you should start.
Nutrition and Health
Quite a technical set of pages based around the nutritional requirements of athletes. But this makes fascinating reading whether you're training for the London Marathon or just want to check what the food you eat is doing to your body. There are sections on the macronutrients such as calories, fat and protein; minerals and vitamins; non-nutrients like alcohol and caffeine; and on self analysis and meal planning.


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