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Editorial Issue 24

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 24 - January 1998

This issue of Positive Health carries an extended special feature regarding Nursing in Complementary Medicine, to acknowledge and honour the vanguard role that nurses are playing in taking complementary therapies and adapting them to everyday treatment and care within the NHS, midwifery and private nursing. One of the main criticisms often levelled at complementary medicine is that its patients tend to be those who are well-off, willing and able to pay for private treatment, and that its practitioners do not have to work within the somewhat straitjacketed conditions of the NHS. Progress in tackling tough policy decisions and guidelines has been genuinely impressive as can be seen in the articles spanning pages 14–33.

Other vital issues affecting us all are also covered in this issue – including the water we drink, the pernicious and toxic effect of fluoridation and how root canal treatments can generate serious health problems. And, in an extended bodywork section, we present authoritative features outlining ways to prevent back pain, the therapeutic use of hypnosis in musculoskeletal medicine and the many faceted therapeutic aspects of the practice of Shiatsu.

On a slightly more sour note, I must report that the rose-tinted landscape of my idealistic outlook has gradually become obscured over recent years. I have finally accepted that my childhood myths regarding people being altruistic, getting along and helping each other have not survived reality checks. Never mind the battles between conventional and unconventional healthcare practitioners; skirmishes for power and influence between practitioners even in the same complementary field continue to be divisive, vitriolic and energy-consuming.

Take the increasingly prevalent trend of registering the trademark of various complementary therapies. Those organisations who hold the registered trademarks for a particular therapy oblige everyone who wishes to make use of the name of the therapy to acknowledge their trademark and may restrict the training and/or practice of that particular therapy to those practitioners who belong to and/or are certified by their association.

The principle behind registered trademarks is straightforward – it enables the founder or owner of a name, title or process to protect his or her entity from others infringing upon its use. This is somewhat analogous to the process of patenting an original invention, which protects the inventor and requires users of his or her invention to pay royalties for using the invention.

Some therapies which are being trademarked have been developed over many decades, even centuries or millennia and involve the application of ancient Chinese or Japanese practices of influencing the flow of energy and the breath. Other counselling or hypnosis-based therapies have developed over decades with input from numerous practitioners all over the world involving the training and certification of countless thousands of therapists to this day.

The present-day trademarking of a therapy which has had its origins and development in the past, and the consequent restriction of its therapeutic use by name to a selected few practitioners defies common sense as well as the entire spirit underpinning wholistic health care.

Will we be soon be seeing certain techniques of Breathing, Meditation, Fasting, Imagery, Healing, Massage and many other fundamental human activities become registered trademarks? And will the owners of these trademarks spend their lives prosecuting all the people who engage in these therapeutic practices but who have not signed up to their organisation?

Surely the guiding principle of every practitioner is to help the individual to regain their health, using the best skills at their disposal. If individual techniques become owned and compartmentalised, rather than generally available, this will  stifle the practice and development of these therapies.  We don’t really need yet another divisive practice – we simply need to concentrate our energies on trying to unify and promote excellence among complementary therapies.

A further note of progress to announce – starting from 29 January ‘98, Positive Health will be published monthly. To all our readers and friends, have a peaceful and restful holiday season.


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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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