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Editorial Issue 187

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 187 - October 2011

As we finalize Positive Health PH Online Oct Issue 187, there appear to be a number of complex issues affecting the practice of Complementary Medicine which continue to swirl around in the background and which may affect not only our ability to obtain and use many nutritional and herbal supplements, but also the ability of health professionals to practise medicine beyond conventional drug-led medicine. This is highlighted in this issue by the letter from College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) in Canada:

“In Ontario, it will mean the end of MDs practising anything other than pharmaceutical medicine and surgery. Physicians and medical students in Ontario who have the ability, will move to another location if they want to practise anything other than the convention or, they will quit practicing integrative medicine altogether. This is leading edge medicine that incorporates many modalities that improve patient outcome and reduce reliance on medications and surgery. This approach not only controls symptoms but also has been shown to resolve the problem.

“This is a very serious matter for all of us no matter what your role in the health care field.

“Patients need to be able to make informed choices about decisions that will have a significant impact on their lives. Much of health cares upward spiralling health care costs are related to care provided to patients based on the preferences of providers (the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario want to dictate what that will be). When patients are provided with impartial, balanced information regarding health care choices, research has found that they tend to choose less invasive less costly treatments than they might otherwise have selected (Dartmouth Medical School). Informed choice is also closely aligned with the concept of patient autonomy, the concept of informed consent and the value of self-determination that sits at the centre of Canadian and American constitutional liberalism.”

We have long been aware of the views of segments of the medical profession who regard only certain procedures and disciplines as ‘real medicine’, whereas other techniques and disciplines are merely placebo, despite any research indicating their efficacy. So medical disciplines and procedures including surgery, chemotherapy, drugs, physiotherapy, MRI and ultrasound scans and immunotherapy and gene therapy are part of the conventional toolkit, but most less invasive approaches including most Complementary Medicine therapist, such as nutrition and herbal medicine, bodywork practices such as massage, osteopathy, chiropractic,  reflexology are not. And the issue of Research is yet another can of worms – only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are counted as ‘proper’ research, relegating the entire historical archive of other types of research – case histories, case controlled studies, many laboratory studies - to the dustbin, including the vast majority of clinical research undertaken by conventional physicians.

When one explores these dichotomies further, we discover that massage is complementary, yet physical therapy which uses massage is conventional, or that immunotherapy or vaccination which use diluted products to provoke immunity, but that DNA sequences which delivered homeopathically exert changes come under the label of  homeopathy ‘not flavour of the month’ or century. See an update regarding DNA, Gene Expression and Homeopathy in this issue.

Indeed Homeopathy is deemed impossible because of the degree of dilution involved; however when physicists, ‘real scientists’ discover that an anomaly in the Speed of Light and that neutrinos may violate a cardinal rule of science, that doesn’t invalidate Physics, but shows that science is dynamic.

There has been much discussion regarding attacks by the ASA (Advertising Standards Association) upon many Complementary Therapies, recently discussed by the CMA (Complementary Medicine Association) and the ANH (Alliance for Natural Health).

This has involved allegations that a group has been trawling the internet sites of complementary practitioners, searching for invalid claims and testimonials made by practitioners. Following complaints by the ASA to the alleged offender, the practitioner would have to ‘prove’ the veracity of the claim. In certain instances where faith or spiritual terminology is involved, the practitioner would be in the hopeless circular argument of “if you can’t prove that God exists” than how can you have faith.

There are, and always have been, prudent strategies to avoid being attacked, prosecuted and prevented from helping your patients with complementary medicine. These include:

  • Following the remit of your professional qualifications and professional associations;
  • Your ability or not to diagnose and treat certain ailments;
  • Your duty to liaise and communicate with your patient’s doctor(s);
  • Your ability to discriminate between what constitute ‘serious illnesses’ and chronic complaints;
  • Documenting your practices and keeping proper notes;
  • Publish claims in articles or websites with proper reference to evidence.

If you are attacked, seek support from your professional association and reply robustly. There is a complete chapter devoted to how to defend yourself in Martin Walker’s Dirty Medicine The Handbook, available from

Coming back to this Oct Issue 187, there is one heart warming feature about how a long-term sufferer of ibs and candida was finally brought back to health, not by magic, but a diligent combination of nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and massage - this is why we all work so hard to help make people’s lives better.


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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 27+ 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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