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Editorial Issue 18

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 18 - March 1997

Nearly 40 years ago, a young child critically ill with meningitis, I lay close to death in a Montreal hospital. Memories of the attempts of the doctors to diminish the pain of spinal lumbar punctures ("this will feel like a mosquito prick"), my mother's despair that I wouldn't survive (her reply "oh yeah?" to a comment that I would soon be fine), and the frightening noises in the neurological ward, are crystal clear these many years later.

In those days prior to general antibiotic availability, a battle was being waged between the neurologist and the surgeon about diagnosis and treatment, as the tests were inconclusive. My family was desperately trying to persuade the reluctant doctors to take some action. Finally, following the "intuitive" hunch of the neurologist, the surgeon was persuaded to operate upon my very infected right mastoid bone (behind the ear) and I subsequently lived to tell the tale and have always carried a reverent respect for both fact and intuition.

As practitioners and in our daily lives, we are all influenced by our training orientation and experience. When presented with a patient suffering from eczema, those trained in the more conventional medical-type disciplines, such as nutrition, medical herbalism or aromatherapy, may devise treatment of nutrients and/or herbs and oils after obtaining the "hard" evidence from clinical laboratory or microbiology culture tests. With the same eczema patient, hypnotherapists or NLP practitioners may use hypnosis or relaxation approaches for treatment. Practitioners of energy medicine such as Chinese medicine or Reiki or healing may look for and attempt to correct energy blockages, whereas homoeopaths could determine the constitutional type and prescribe remedies which fit the picture. Although the treatment approaches by each of these practitioners could not be more different, there is a very good chance that each type of therapy could be successful with the patient's eczema.

The battle for what is the "right" or "best" treatment rages as much within complementary medicine just as it did in my own particular medical experience, but surely the most important outcome is that the person gets better with the fewest possible deleterious side effects. If you asked a wide range of different practitioners for their definition of the "right" or "best" treatment for a particular individual, their answer would very often be coloured by their therapeutic expertise. I would be most surprised to hear a Chinese herbalist recommend aromatherapy or homoeopathic treatment for arthritis, although I suspect that all three approaches could have successful clinical outcomes.

Complementary medicine continues to move significantly into mainstream medical practice. This is reported in this issue's Research Updates where the Health Policy Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA projects a growth by 88 percent of the per capita supply of alternative medicine clinicians – chiropractors, naturopaths and practitioners of Chinese medicine – between 1994 and 2010 (see page 49). This transformation of increased respectability of complementary medicine is similarly reflected in the increased circulation and distribution of Positive Health, which from this issue will be sold at major newsagents including WH Smith and John Menzies.

It is vital for all of us to remember that as individuals we don't hold a monopoly upon the truth, and that frequently we can learn from the wisdom and experiences of other colleagues and therapies in order to better serve our patients. I look forward to the day when all complementary therapies receive the respect due them from practitioners from all the wide diversity of disciplines, including the wider medical and allied professions. It will be necessary for many practitioners to maintain a wider perspective in their attitudes and practices in order to achieve this objective

This will be the last column for the time being for Leon Chaitow (see page 19), who will be devoting more time to his course at University of Westminster and his editorial responsibilities for his new Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy. We take this opportunity to thank him for his contributions to Positive Health and wish him well in his continuing endeavours.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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