Homeopathy could be the answer to cutting down stress levels in employees. LEIGH ROBINSON reports.

SWINDON'S workers can now learn ways of combating stress in their lunchtimes with the help of a new service being offered by homeopath Trish Moroney.

Ms Moroney, who runs clinics across the South West, has started new, free, lunch and learn workshops that can be held on a business's own premises.

They are aimed at staff who want to find out how homeopathy or hypnotherapy can help them feel better at work, whether they feel stressed or tired.

The launch of the new service from Simply Better Health comes in response to research that shows stress is increasingly recognised as a leading cause of absence from work. Mind, the mental health charity, recently said that stress at work was costing nearly 10 per cent of the UK's gross domestic product each year equivalent to £100bn in lost output.

Mental health problems have taken over from back pain as the main reason why people are unable to work and claim incapacity benefit, it says, while stress is the highest cause of absence among non-manual employees, with an estimated 12.8m working days lost in Britain in 2003/04.

Simon Face, south west regional director of the Institute of Directors, agrees it is an issue businesses need to get to grips with.

He said: "Stress is one of the main causes for people taking time off work, particularly on a long-term basis. Clearly it is a big issue for employers."

Ms Moroney, who used to teach sick children in her former career as headteacher of a London hospital's school before turning to homeopathy as an alternative way of tackling illness, says the treatment can be a valuable tool in tackling the issues.

Indeed, she herself first used homeopathy when she was stressed at work.

"I was suffering from high blood pressure," she said.

"I went to a homeopath and after taking the right remedy my blood pressure dropped, even though my work situation had not changed. Homeopathy really can help."

The idea behind homeopathy is that remedies in very dilute quantities stimulate the body's own healing powers and build up the immune system. Homeopaths focus on the whole of an individual's needs rather than looking at a symptom in isolation.

"Stress is the underlying cause of a lot of symptoms. These include headaches, lots of sniffles and colds, tiredness, not feeling well all the time and insomnia.

"Homeopathy can help with work-related stress because it addresses how you respond to the situation that is causing the stress. As homeopathy has no side effects it is a drug-free way to treat stress."

Ms Moroney, who studied at the London School of Classical Homeopathy, is also now looking for a company or large organisation in Swindon where she can carry out a study of how homeopathy can help stress in the workplace.

"There are a large number of companies in Swindon who care about their workforce. I am sure many will want to give their workers a little bit extra," she said.

One company in the south west that has already benefitted is SUSTRANS, the charity for sustainable transport.

"I found it a very good introduction to homeopathy. For instance, I didn't know that many of the remedies are instant," said one worker.

"The lunchtime session was very useful as I had no real concept of homeopathy and how it works," said another.

  • For more information on taking part or hosting a lunch and learn session, email bsimplybetter@tiscali.co.uk or call 01452 812347.