When alternative therapies began to emerge in the west, they were often viewed with suspicion and many of the therapists were not 100 percent certified. However, nowadays, some private clinics have begun to integrate alternative therapies in their clinical practice, due to their proven results, certification and increasingly credibility.

This is what Jorge Martins is now embracing, managing partner in AntiAging Clinic in Praia da Marina, a new clinic that has started with two concepts: medical conventional approach and wellness.

“Now that the areas are properly licensed, with specific legal requirements to be met, studies with proven facts and specific information, the public is also increasing its level of trust”, he told The Portugal News.

Seventy percent of their clients are foreigners, so they are used to working with Portuguese natives and foreigners, which has shown Jorge Martins, through his experience, that the level of trust in alternative therapies is higher in the foreign community, who are more used to these approaches in some of their countries, in which the integration of both practices is more common.

“It is normal in some parts of the world to have a physiotherapist and also a licensed osteopath, for example, or a chiropractor, these are areas that in other countries are more integrated and therefore the mentality of the foreign public is also more open”, Jorge Martins told The Portugal News.

Among the more popular alternative therapies at the moment are chiropractic, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, massages and Manual Lymphatic Drainage.

The best of both worlds

As we said, the clinic has two sides, the medical component, which is their main activity (that is strongly based on plastic surgery, aesthetic medicine, hair surgery and many others new medical consultations), and a well-being component, more related to alternative therapists, with around 15 specialties.

First, he said, they started working with plastic surgery, then aesthetic medicine, but over the years Jorge Martins and his team realised how much new value new different areas can bring to the clinic, because they all participate in the process, as is the case of, for example, nutrition, clinical analysis and wellness therapies.

At the moment, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine are seeing a surge in demand. “In these specific areas we have Dr. Ana Lares, who is an anaesthesiologist but ended up taking a course in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. She believes that these medical health and alternative therapies can complement each other very well. As an anaesthesiologist she gives pain consultation and as a therapist she also uses her knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture (areas in which she also graduated) to the treatment of pain, offering a very complete treatment”.

The anti-aging concern

Anti-aging, the concept that gives the name to the clinic, comes from 14 years working in the medical area in the Algarve - mainly in plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine- and the recognition of the importance of aging with quality of life. Currently, with the increasing life expectancy, this has never been so important.

“Everyone would love to live between 100 and 120 years old, but if we didn’t have quality of life at 70 years old, the interest in spending 30 years in a bed won’t exist. This is not achieved if there is no prevention and a promotion of anti-aging in general”, he highlighted.

From this perspective of anti-aging prevention, well-being is a perfect ingredient to join the mix. “For example, Dr. Bianca Toebben, a doctor who we have been working with, in preventive medicine consultations of anti-aging, usually combines her medical approach with an alternative therapeutics, for example, osteopathy. The clinic has this versatility – an environment where we can combine various areas, such as conventional therapies and alternative ones, in order to provide different types of solutions to our clients”, explained Jorge Martins.

“Alternative therapies, like other medical practices, aim to improve our quality of life and through improving our quality of life we are extending our longevity. Anything that is preventing disease and promoting a healthy lifestyle will contribute to the anti-aging process, which is our main goal”, he highlighted.

In addition, the pandemic also brought something new – a new global awareness, people want to feel healthier and physically prepared to face any problem.

“People now want to do something for themselves, namely at a sports level. I’ve seen a greater demand for personalised training. Not bodybuilding exercise, but physical exercise to improve our health”, said Jorge, admitting that maybe the closure of gyms and the fear of some clients regarding gyms maybe could contribute to this increasing trend.

Alternative therapies: what has changed?

In the beginning when new alternative therapies first began to appear many people were sceptical of their benefits but nowadays things are changing and Jorge believes that in the coming years the next step is integration.

“Over the years, I believe that there will be a greater integration of these two areas, even in hospital practice, because they are recognised techniques, with qualified results. Therefore, I believe that over the years and with due accreditation of all technicians, some of these techniques that are currently in other countries will eventually be integrated into public services”, he concluded.