Controlling Complementary Medicine
The Lords Science and Technology select committee (a british government advisory group) recently called for much tighter regulation over who can practice alternative medicines such as acupuncture and aromatherapy. (to act almost as an alternative form of the British Medical Association / General Medical Council?) It is also calling for more scientific & medical research to judge the efficacy of various Alternative & Complementary remedies & therapies.
The committee’s recommendations follow a 15-month investigation, prompted by a rapid growth in the number of people using complementary & alternative medicine in developed western society. (for developed read “distanced from nature?)
It’s estimated around five million patients a year visit a complementary medical practitioner in Britain, However many doctors are cautious about alternative medicine and those who practice it, believing that the therapies & remedies effectiveness are yet to be proven and that many treatments remain untested.
Alternative? Complementary? – since when?
Most practitioners feel agrieved that remedies based on “Ethno-Botany” and thousands of years of experience should be labelled Alernative or Complementary to modern medicine & treatments.
Over the years “official” medical bodies have sought to group and define theraputic practices. Now a recent European Commission report says the accepted definition in the United States of America is:
“A broad domain of healing resources that encompass all health systems, modalities and practices, and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period.’
‘It includes all such products and ideas self defined by their users as preventing or treating illness or promoting health and well-being.’
‘Boundaries within complementary and alternative medicine and between complementary and alternative medicine and the domain of the dominant system are not always sharp or fixed.’
The Lords Science and Technology select committee, as an aid to distinguish between therapies, divided them into three groups.
The first group were loosely defined as “acceptable therapies”, and included the best known therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homoeopathy and osteopathy.
The second group included the Alexander technique, reflexology, shiatsu, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, flower remedies, shiatsu and meditation. Presently such practices lack definitive regulation, with several “self regulatory bodies” in operation. Although the committee recognised these therapies were often used to complement conventional medical practises, they warned of their ‘lack of scientific basis’.
The chairman of the select committee, Lord Walton, stated that if he had terminal cancer he may consider group two practices, but he would never consider group three practices. This final group included what were considered to be “unacceptable theories”, and included crystal therapy, kinesiology, iridology, Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. (why would they include Chinese herbal medicine in this group?)