My experience of complementary therapies was in sharp contrast to my experiences of the medical system. In particular, I was struck by the fact that each appointment with my osteopath, acupuncturist and homeopath lasted between forty-five minutes and an hour (my average appointment within the medical system lasted between five and ten minutes). The first fifteen-twenty minutes of these complementary therapy appointments were devoted to close questioning about life events and my experiences of impairment and illness which had taken place since my last visit, and treatment was decided accordingly.

This "holistic" approach, which is based on careful consideration of the patient as an individual, is in sharp contrast to the medical system's approach of treating the patient as a manifestation of their impairment or illness, whose problems (and thus the correct treatment) can be deduced from a study of that impairment or illness in isolation from those it affects. It should also be noted that, despite the thorough nature of the questioning carried out at the beginning of each complementary therapy appointment, I never experienced it as intrusive, embarrassing or inappropriate, in contrast to my experience of being questioned within the medical system. Perhaps this was related to the fact that I never felt that what I told any traditional medical practitioner was accepted as being true.

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