Editorial Issue 145
Written by Administrator

Also, more than 75% of medical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine feel that “complementary and alternative medicine should be included in the curriculum”.

In the Cancer Research section of the Updates, in addition to the study about how selenium can act synergistically with doxorubicin (trade name Adriamycin, a chemotherapy drug) in counteracting breast cancer, are the studies investigating how calcium or some related component in dairy foods is associated with increased prostate cancer risk (see Mitrou et al, page 31), as well as a randomized controlled trial of aromatherapy massage in patients with cancer (see Wilkinson et al, page 31). There is also a study from South Korea investigating the neuro-protective effects of acupuncture in Parkinson’s Disease (see Kang et al, page 33).

Similarly, when looking across the depth of material covered in the articles in this issue, including Spiritual Consciousness, Reflexology, Sensitivity, Diet, Healthy Skin and Back Pain, notto mention Ayurveda, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Bodywork, one does derive a feeling of progress made by the Complementary Medicine Community over the past 14 years.

However, as PH readers can see from the Letters pages 42-42, relations between the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) and Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Reiki practitioners, currently represented by The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT ), can hardly be considered even cordial, regarding the issue of Regulation. It might be more appropriate to term the current atmosphere between the groups as being at loggerheads.

Over the past 14 years, it has always saddened me to witness and hear about the conflicts and strife which have gone on within and between the many disciplines comprising Complementary and Alternative Medicine. No discipline seems to have escaped such hostilities – whether it has been Healers, Crystal Therapists, Aromatherapists, Reiki or Bowen practitioners, there has been considerable drama, even litigation at times.

Over the first few years when I was a lay person on the Aromatherapy Group, I thought that rival organizations might come to blows – blood on the floor as they say. However, during the past few years, when there has been a concerted effort on the part of most complementary disciplines to get together, agree training and education standards for their respective professions, matters have truly progressed – a coming of age so to speak.

That is why it is so frustrating to witness such public spats over the model of regulation between the FIH and the GRCCT, as played out in the letters pages of PH, as well as in broadcasts of the BBC Radio 4 programs such as You and Yours.

However, one heartening aspect of these disputes is that there is a solidly professional approach from the practitioner groups, along with their insistence that inherent in a Regulation scheme is the presence of professionally qualified practitioners for each discipline, rather than committees comprised of lay members only. These qualified practitioners would be uniquely able to ascertain the correct level of education and training needed to meet the high standards required to treat patients and provide protection for the public.

I guess that, considering the amount of time and effort which each profession has devoted to training and education matters in their fields, it is only proper that these issues be thrashed out fully by all sides. One hopes for a successful outcome.

Watch this space.

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