Analysis: Cash plans - can complementary therapies really address employee absence?

As the evidence around the impact of complementary therapies on workplace absence continues to grow, it is likely that they will form an even more important part of cash plan schemes in the future.

Case study: acupuncture helps pregnant employee return to work

A pregnant employee who could not work for weeks because of chronic morning sickness has hailed acupuncture treatment as “a little life-saver” after she was back on her feet and at her desk after just one session.

Naomi Thompson, payroll manager at CPP Group, a life assistance company dealing with card, phone and identity protection, decided to try acupuncture after more than three weeks’ sickness absence and other tried and failed remedies and treatments. Acupuncture was available as a benefit on the Westfield Health Flex Plan.

Thompson, who was pregnant with her second child at the time, says: “I was off work for nearly a month because of morning sickness. I was signed off by the doctor because it was making me chronically ill – I couldn’t eat and I was losing weight and becoming very weak.

“I came back to work but there was still the risk I would have to rush out of meetings to be sick. I didn’t know what else to do.”

One single acupuncture session apparently solved the problem.

“As I was pregnant they used a no-needles approach and a technique involving pressure points on my body,” says Thompson. “I stopped being sick the very next day.”


A guide to complementary therapies

Acupuncture: the insertion and manipulation of needles in the body to restore balance and trigger the body’s natural healing response

Chiropractic: manipulation of the spine and other joints to treat and prevent mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system

Homeopathy: a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing

Hypnotherapy: attempts to address an individual’s subconscious mind using the power of suggestion for beneficial change

Osteopathy: a manipulation technique that detects and treats problems with the muscles, nerves and joints

Physiotherapy: uses massage and manipulation to promote healing and wellbeing, often after injury or illness

Reflexology: applying pressure to the feet, hands or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques

Reiki: a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation which is administered by laying hands on the body

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