I have had a busy couple of weeks. Having been to a business start up event two weeks ago I found myself seriously contemplating taking the plunge into self-employment. Having toyed with the idea for a while, listening to the experiences of others gave me the courage to follow through. 

So here I stand, at the gateway to a new and exciting venture. My feelings on this are a mixed bag. On the one hand I am optimistic, eager and excited while conversely I feel overwhelmed and somewhat clueless. There is so much I don’t know. This is completely foreign territory for me. However, on the plus side, I do love learning so…onwards and upwards.

One thing that surprised me was the level of support that is out there. From coffee mornings to mini seminars to support, information and advice networks, Limerick is a vibrant hub for small business.

I have made some valuable contacts and learned so much already, this really is a very exciting time for me. All I have to do now is get organized…no mean feat! Ann Styles – Freelance Journalist/Copywriter/Blogger… I’m on my way.




When it comes to alternative therapies there are as many views as there are treatments.  Critics complain that it is unscientific while its fans say look at the evidence, the case studies which support it. Increasingly it is being incorporated into mainstream medical centres, which gives it credibility, not to mention business and it has been recognised widely for its psychological benefits in our fast-paced, high-stressed lives.


Alternative or complimentary therapies is a very broad term which encompasses an ever growing range of treatments that can include various types of massage, acupuncture and homeopathy or, like Ayurveda, it can encompass diet, exercise and supplements in a holistic approach.

Massage comes in many shapes in the world of alternative therapies. There is reflexology in which the therapist manipulates predefined pressure points in the hands or feet to alleviate pain or stress. By stimulating nerves and increasing blood flow Reflexology can alleviate allergy symptoms, as well as stress, back pain, and chronic fatigue.

Reiki is a Japanese touch therapy that is used in much the same way as traditional massage therapy —to relieve stress and pain, and to improve the symptoms of various health conditions. The practitioner locates and clears energy blockages in the body to promote healing and well-being.

Acupuncture, on the other hand, is an ancient Chinese therapy which uses very fine needles, inserted into the body at various pressure points to remove energy imbalances and blockages throughout the body. It is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and health issues and is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a treatment for over 40 conditions including allergies, respiratory conditions and digestive disorders.

Homeopathy is based on the principle that like cures like. It uses minute amounts of natural medicines that, in larger amounts would cause the illness. So for example: If you suffer from hay fever then a homeopathic remedy made from onion can relieve the symptoms of watering eyes and a burning nose. Homeopathy has been used for everything from the common cold to cancer with 3000 preparations currently in use. There have been countless studies into the effectiveness of homeopathic treatments since its inception 200 years ago. In clinical trials homeopathy was effective in treating flu, viral infection, asthma and migraine, to name a few. As Gandhi said: “Gandhi: “Homeopathy cures a larger percentage of cases than any other method”.

Ayurveda is a holistic practise which aims at bringing the body in line with nature using dietary changes, herbal supplements and lifestyle change. The theory behind it is that all illness begins with an imbalance which Ayurvedic therapies address. An important part of Ayurveda is meditation and yoga, whose benefits for stress and high blood pressure are well documented. Its popularity with celebrities such as Madonna means it is now more widely available than ever before.

With so many alternative therapies available conventional medicine is no longer the only option. Increasingly stressful living and the added pressures of time management and financial constraints result in stress and illness. Perhaps now more than ever it is vital to have a little “therapy”. So relax and indulge. As Oprah would say: “Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.”



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