«I do reiki whenever I need to. When I’m feeling stressed or my pulse is racing, I just press my hands and I calm down,» said Dimitris Eleftherakis, 45. Another fan is Manuela Nikolaou, 40, who attributes the improvement in her gynecological symptoms to reiki. They are just two of the growing number of Greeks who are resorting to alternative therapies. Some have gone from receiving treatment to becoming practitioners themselves. One such example is Yiannis Yiaples, a dancer and dance instructor, who sought help from reflexology, acupuncture and reiki seven years ago when, as he said, he was on the verge of despair. «I had allergic asthma and a serious narrowing of the neck. I was living on inhaled and injected cortisone and I had acute muscular pain, which made life very difficult for me in my profession as a dancer. «After the third reflexology treatment, the horrific pains lessened and gradually became bearable. In 2000 I decided to do a two-year course in reflexology and I learnt how to treat myself as well as others.» Eventually his symptoms subsided and his doctor said he could stop the cortisone. Yiaples believes many alternative therapies are misunderstood by Westerners because they are not easy to document scientifically, «even though they have proved efficacious for hundreds of years.» But he said it was dangerous for an alternative practitioner to advise a patient to stop taking a conventional drug prescribed by a doctor.