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Editorial Issue 49

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 49 - February 2000

While there is no shortage of acceptable practitioners around, when I have a health problem to sort out, I have always found it difficult to locate that really superb therapist who hits on the "correct" approach for my particular problem at that point in time. For, despite the huge amounts of discussion currently going on within the medical and complementary communities regarding evidence based treatments, standards and training, the really crucial thing that matters is whether you, the patient, get relief from your suffering and are restored to health.

It is difficult to convey the sheer volume of information which comes into this office – books, videos, press releases, articles and testimonials – always regarding the latest "miracle" discovery, invention, product or technique. Not to mention re-discovered, or new versions of various therapies. We have literally bookshelves overflowing with gorgeous books about Yoga, Healing, Tai Chi, Ayurveda, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Homoeopathy, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Cranio Sacral Therapy, Reiki, Flower Remedies, just to mention a few. I know and believe that all these therapies do work; however, they don't necessarily work with every person in every particular instance.

From my own fairly extensive experience, there have been instances when homoeopathy has worked a treat, and other times when nothing has happened (see also cartoon page 20, within article by John Wilks, the "nothing happened service"). Likewise, with acupuncture, osteopathy, physiotherapy, or herbal and nutritional supplements. Same therapist, same approach, but sometimes no result. Not only for me, but also for friends, family and colleagues.

And this applies even to supposedly very straightforward, non mysterious problems, such as strained shoulder, or pulled hamstrings, as well as more subtle, perhaps more complex conditions, such as allergies. Furthermore, this appears to be the case with even the most well-known practitioners internationally. (Of course, you only discover about these famous people's health problems after they have happened, or you might have not sought their services in the first place.) We don't really expect health experts to get sick: osteopaths to require surgery for their backs; nutritionists to have heart attacks; healers to get cancer.

The media has conditioned us to put experts on a pedestal, to require of them superhuman qualities. We are shocked when spiritual "gurus" are arrested for financial or sexual crimes; we do expect our role models to "walk their talk" and we are continuously disappointed to discover that even the most revered specialist is still only human.

So, back to the problem of tracking down the best practitioner, choosing the most effective therapeutic approach when we or our loved ones are in need. This is really the crux of the art of medicine, and requires much more than a formulaic equation. We all want the result such as described in Dr Angela Jones (page 19), where Rhus tox sorts out not only the patient's worsening arthritis joint pain, but also her psoriasis. Or the skill of the traditional Chinese doctor in Soho who had so much success in treating eczema (page 21). But it simply doesn't always happen that way. If the answer to cancer were more vitamin C, or the remedy for menopausal symptoms herbs like Dong Quai, we wouldn't need practitioners at all. We could simply look up our problem on the internet and take the listed remedy. Would that it could be so simple.

If you have a headache, take a painkiller. Fine, perhaps for a one-off. But, if you continue to suffer headaches and continue to take painkillers, without discovering the underlying cause of the headache (which could be minor or very serious) life could become quite unbearable, the original cause of the headache would continue to fester, and you might start to suffer from the not insignificant side-effects of painkillers.

I am afraid that in the end, we as patients must also participate in the quest to seek out and find the correct practitioner and the best therapy for our health problem. This is not always easy, especially when after spending a lot of money for treatment, we find ourselves getting worse, not better. There usually comes a time when we know that the approach being pursued is not working; we owe it to ourselves to listen to that intuition and move on to the next therapy and/or practitioner.


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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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