Natural Health Service
Forget the NHS – one in five Brits are now relying on the ‘Natural Health Service’.
A new study from The School of Health shows millions of adults are relying on natural remedies and therapies to maintain a normal healthy lifestyle.
And rather than turning to a doctor as a first port of call in times of trouble, 48 per cent prefer to find their own treatment while 21 per cent are taking up natural alternatives such as homeopathy, nutritional therapy, therapeutic massages and herbal tonics.
On average, Brits take nine vitamin and mineral supplements a month, preferring to stick with remedies that come from nature.
Mani Norland, Principal at The School of Health, which commissioned the report via OnePoll.com, said: “Busy waiting times and overloaded medical professionals mean many people find it easier to fend for themselves.
Add to this a growing mistrust of pharmaceutical companies, and it’s little surprise many adults are looking for more natural solutions to stay well.
People feel more empowered to take responsibility for their own health and do their own research and the survey shows that many choose natural medicines because they feel they are safer, less toxic with little or no side effects.
As we move into spring and summer, hay fever and allergies are at their peak and people are looking for ways to stay healthy and fend off itchy eyes and blocked sinuses.”
Brits say they get ill at least three times each per year on average and four in 10 have an underlying long term chronic illness.
Four in 10 Brits say that when they do become ill they’ll trust sources other than their doctor for advice, including asking friends and family or the Internet.
The most common natural remedy for adults to try and get themselves well is drinking lots of fluids – most likely a honey, hot water and lemon solution.
More than a third say they’ll increase their intake of fruit and veg to fend off an illness and one in 20 take herbal medication.
A quarter of the nation say they rely more on natural remedies and therapies than seeing the doctor.
And one in five believe they have to see their doctor less because of the natural medications they use to ward off illness.
A further fifth would consider using herbal medicine in the future and the same amount would be willing to try acupuncture, while 16 per cent would experiment with homeopathy and 15 per cent would consider nutritional therapy.
One in 20 would even be willing to try Ayurvedic medicine – which originated in India more than 3,000 years ago – the next time they became unwell.
The study also revealed the most common signs you’re in good health. Feeling well in yourself, having good energy levels and eating five portions of fruit and veg per day are the most common indicators.
Not taking any time off work, being able to enjoy your life and staying off the cigarettes are also signs you’re on top physical form.
A School of Health spokesman said, “It was good to note that beyond physical pain, people understand that being able to enjoy life with good energy ‘inside and out’ and being creative are vital in terms of health and wellbeing.
We were also happy to see how many people recognise the importance of a good diet, drinking habits and regular exercise in maintaining their wellness.
In this age of fast-food and processed meals, it’s heartening that many realise their health could be improved by changes they could make themselves, rather than relying on an overstretched NHS.”
The study also reveals the top 20 methods adopted by Brits to stay well – which include eating lots of fruit and vegetables, taking regular vitamin or mineral supplements and enjoying walks in nature.
One in 10 adults fill their diet with herbs, while the same percentage try to eat foods rich in vitamins such as B12 and folic acid.
Avoiding processed foods, drinking herbal teas and eating spices are also ways adults try to stave off coughs and colds.
TOP WAYS BRITS PREVENT ILLNESS
1. Eat a lot of fruit and veg
2. Drink lots of fluids
3. Take supplements (vitamins/minerals)
4. Get at least 8 hours sleep a night
5. Walk in nature
6. Take regular weekly exercise
7. Drink honey and lemon
8. Take regular annual holidays
9. Eat spices (turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon)
10. Limit the intake of alcohol
11. Eat fish several times a week
12. Eat herbs (garlic, coriander, basil, rosemary)
13. Eat foods rich in vitamins (e.g. B12 and folic acid)
14. Avoid processed foods
15. Limit the intake of caffeine
16. Drink veg/fruit smoothies
17. Drink herbal teas (peppermint, camomile, green tea, red bush)
18. Limit the intake of chocolate