In 2001 the results of the recent and long awaited report by The House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) were announced. Complementary and Alternative medicine has now been organised into three groups. Each group will qualify for Statutory State Registration in turn. “The most organised professions” comprise the first group and include acupuncture and herbal medicine. Acupuncture and herbal medicine will soon be State Registered therapies. With this will follow protection of title, acceptance within the medical profession as a whole, more access for patients to CAM therapies and more funding for research. This level of recognition, organisation and regulation will increase the contribution that acupuncture and herbal medicine can make to the health of the nation.
Did you know that:
• We spend an estimated £1.6 billion each year on complementary therapies
• About 40 per cent of GP practices offer access to some form of non-conventional treatment
• Acupuncture is increasingly routine in pain clinics
• More than 90 per cent of hospices offer soothing therapies such as massage and aromatherapy
• NHS cancer patients at Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals can receive a wide choice of treatments from the complementary therapies team — reflexology, aromatherapy, massage therapy, relaxation training and art therapy
• There are now 40,000 alternative practitioners in the UK
Chinese Herbal Medicine proved useful for IBS, Eczema and Malaria
• Major orthodox studies involving Chinese herbal medicine in a randomised clinical controlled trial published in 1988 showed Chinese herbal treatment effective in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Doctors at Great Ormond Street, The Royal Free and Middlesex Hospitals in London, used Chinese herbal treatment in the treatment of eczema (Lancet, Vol. 340, July 4, 1992). It was concluded that Chinese herbal treatment “affords substantial clinical benefit in patients whose atopic dermatitis had been unresponsive to conventional therapy.”
• Traditional Chinese medicine has also given us Artemisia annua, the source of one of the most effective modern treatments for malaria
Acupuncture affective in the treatment of Depression
Patients in Arizona, USA who suffered mild bouts of depression tried 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture with good result. The clinical trial was so effective it has been enlarged to include men and women. Acupuncture was found effective on its own, and also enhanced the medication and psychotherapy already used by some patients.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine as part of Daily Life
In ancient times acupuncture and herbal medicine was used in the Orient to prevent disease, not just to cure it. In the modern times we tend to ignore disease prevention and instead expect a quick and permanent cure when we have a complaint. This is something that no form of medicine can guarantee. However, for over 2,000 years acupuncture and herbal medicine has successfully reduced pain, treated stubborn conditions, supported the recovery process and worked well to maintain good health.
I sometimes hear my patients say that they had one or two acupuncture treatments for pain at their GP surgery and that they felt better for it – but that the acupuncture “didn’t work” because the pain came back. Since many chronic conditions can resurface it makes sense to discover what we can do in our daily lives to prevent a relapse. You may have had a course of herbs or acupuncture and were surprised or disappointed to find that your complaint came back. Did you consider other factors:
• Insufficient recovery period allowed
• Change in season or extreme seasonal/environmental changes
• Sudden change in diet
• Excess intake of alcohol, hot, spicy foods or cold, raw foods
• Extreme emotional upset
• Increased mental stress or physical strain
• The ageing process
• More treatment was needed
Our first line of defence is a change in lifestyle that includes adequate rest, reducing stress, good nutrition and exercise. Many of my patients take herbs on a daily basis to build up the immune system, keep the digestion strong, control pain and to regulate the hormones. A short or long course of acupuncture and herbal treatment may be needed for stubborn complaints, colds and flu, or when serious illness occurs.
My clinic days at 103-105 Harley Street are Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday. If you would like to make an appointment or discuss Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, your personal health issues or those of other family members, please don’t hesitate to give me a call on 020 7487 4568.
With best wishes