The healing art of homoeopathy is not normally associated with sophisticated equipment or computer wizardry.

But practitioners like Sussex-based Miranda Kingsley-Holt are now using cutting-edge technology to treat their patients in a natural way.

Thanks to a revolutionary piece of equipment designed by a NASA scientist, the ancient therapy is moving firmly into the 21st Century, as Martha Buckley discovers .

Since time immemorial, homoeopathic practitioners have used their skills to diagnose illnesses, conditions and sensitivities in their patients and then treat them accord-ingly.

Now some practitioners turning to cutting-edge science to help them to diagnose everything from allergies and mouth ulcers to negative thoughts.

The QXCI machine was invented by a NASA scientist and medical doctor Bill Nelson and uses the principles of quantum physics to diagnose illnesses and sensitivities.

Like something out of Star Trek, the QXCI scans the patient's body like a virus-scan on a computer, looking everything from viruses abnormalities and food sensitivities.

Homoeopath Miranda Kingsley-Holt, the only QXCI practitioner in Sussex for almost two years, uses it to treat patients at her Steyning and Brighton practices.

A registered homoeopath, she was first convinced of the merits of the machine when another practitioner used it on her.

She said: "At the time, was cynical but it worked. The machine got to the bottom of what was wrong with me and I got a lot better.

"Since I have been using I can see so much more of what is behind a case. Anything which is impinging on the patient's health will come up.

For example, if someone has digestive trouble, the machine may show that they had salmonella, even as a child, which is still causing them problems.

"When I know the cause, I can start treating the problem . I use it in conjunction with standard homoeopathy."

At her Sussex practices, Mrs Kingsley-Holt usually uses the QXCI machine for about 15 minutes of an hour-long homoeopathic consultation.

The rest of the time will be spent establishing the best way to treat the problems which have shown up.

During a consultation the QXCI machine is connected to the patient via a headband and sends 65 million tiny electromagnetic signals into the body.

These pulses map out the body and its internal organs and reveal any anomalies.

Various programmes can then check different areas of the patient's health.

When Mrs Kingsley-Holt ran the machine's allergy test programme on me, it showed up sensitivities to elements as varied as grass, beauty-counter products, industrial solvents, shellfish, artificial sweeteners and grain meal.

On another programme, the machine checks the body's organs and searches for bacteria and viruses.

In my case, it immediately detected a nasty attack of food poisoning which I suffered in December last year, which was still hampering my digestive system.

The machine can also indicate personality traits such as a tendency to worry which impact on health and determine how a patient would be treated homoeopathically.

Mrs Kingsley-Holt said: "The machine is invaluable in treating children and adults with autism and Downs syndrome, who are unable to verbalise what they're suffering from.

"I have used it a lot for children with behavioural problems. Very often it helps find out what factors are contributing to their behaviour, be it a food intolerance or birth trauma, or a trauma in early childhood."

The machine can also be used to treat problems. It can scan the patient's electro-magnetic field for imbalances and try to redress them by de-sensitising the body, relieving pain, soothing the digestive system or tackling stress.

Mrs Kingsley-Holt offers QXCI testing on its own, or as part of a homoeopathic consultation, at the Clock-house Clinic, Cobblestone Walk, 74 High Street, Steyning, West Sussex, and at the Crescent Clinic, 37 Vernon Terrace, Brighton.

Call 01903 879323 for further information.