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Letters to the Editor Issue 20

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 20 - May 1997

Answer to Leon Chaitow

Leon Chaitow mentions his historical experiences as editor of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and the discord which appears within the Holistic movement. Those who have watched the situation develop since the 1950s will share his anxiety for those who are dedicated towards harmony, compassion, understanding and wholeness.

Fortunately, matters are no longer under the total influence of those who are frightened to lose their position or who make the loudest noise. Even so, the reasons why the problems appeared insoluble need to be understood. They stemmed, not from pure aggression, but from the fear of having ancient and proven treatments taken over and diminished by those who sought political pre-eminence rather than educational status.

Efforts to bring organisations together failed because those taking the lead were often seen as somehow “taking over” others and gaining authority at their expense. However lofty the ideals of co-operation between organisations, the root of any development depends on the continued viability and social status of the participants together with the appropriate recognition of their work. Everyone needs to feel that they are respected, appreciated and recognised for the qualities which they offer and this is central to the current situation in Complementary Medicine.

The problems of co-operation began with the names – complementary, alternative, fringe, supplementary, allied, holistic, etc. All these terms have been used to describe traditional methods of healing which is an extra dimension to current medical treatment in the West. It is the addition of healing energy – chi, prana, vitality, spiritual energy, etc – which is seen as an essential part of the diagnosis and treatment and this makes the Complementary approach different. It also involves the patient in their own healing.

The name under which a medicine is practised is crucial to its status. You would not refer to a surgeon as an alternative GP or a St. John’s Ambulance Brigade member as an alternative paramedic. Therefore, describing these ancient disciplines as alternative, fringe, supplementary or allied is placing them in a pretended relationship to the Western medical profession rather than describing the system of medicine which ‘complements’ the patient at all levels of consciousness.

The ICM chose “complementary” meaning “to make whole” since all disciplines seek to serve the patient at body, mind and spirit. Complementary Medicine is Holism in practise. Thus the new term encompassed everyone who offered healing to patients at all levels of consciousness and this could include those medical doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professional who had also studied these ancient arts and sciences. It was a concept designed to focus on healing and to bring unity to a diverse group.

No sooner had this been done and the Institute for Complementary Medicine formed in 1982, than the extensive though tentative co-operation achieved was interrupted by some who wished to retain a questionable relationship with the medical profession in their title i.e. ‘Complementary’ to the doctor or ‘Alternative’ to the doctor. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and the Parliamentary Group for Alternative and Complementary Medicine are probably the only remaining examples of this thinking. We understand that the Council of Alternative and Complementary Medicine now consider ‘complementary’ the most appropriate word.

There are many different types of Complementary practitioner. Some have developed their healing ability whilst others use the named technique alone, i.e. the osteopath who also understands healing is likely to have a more profound response from the patient. Both methods can be successful but it is claimed that the introduction of healing brings a greater degree of success in treating the whole person. It is these fundamental differences which must be clarified before any realistic consensus can be achieved.

The problem can best be described using another series of professionals. Suppose one is looking at a qualification in “Life Saving”. The St John’s Ambulance Brigade, paramedics, nurses and doctors all perform this service but from different levels of competence. No one would try to create a single course to suit them all because you would create a recipe for deep and continued argument. But this is just what has happened – and is happening – within Complementary Medicine. The current attempts to produce NVQs has only succeeded in isolating a menu of tasks which are performed in common without the levels of skills attached to each.

It is these differences of ability which are central to the accreditation of course structure, regulation and national registration and the unwillingness to accept this fact has always been the cause of dissension. This is why the ICM introduced the three levels of competence which apply to each discipline, therapy, etc. which enables practitioners to be recognised for their current competences and also extend their abilities through various stages on the career ladder.

The other major problem has been the inability of science to come to terms with the healing energy in its many forms. How often have we heard the excuse for not using a technique as “There is no scientific evidence”. The fact that science has not yet been able to accept and design machines which can effectively measure the healing energy is not the fault of the healers.

In spite of these age old problems, the public has gradually come to accept the benefits of Complementary Medicine. This could never have happened if it had not been for the dedication, passionate devotion and single mindedness which motivated people to continue to practise what they wholeheartedly believed. Attempts to downgrade their abilities and cast doubt on their competence have caused many to question their self-worth. But matters are now changing.

The Department of Education and Employment has announced the development of National Training Organisations (NTO) for specific sectors of industry and commerce. The Institute for Complementary Medicine has nominated the British Council of Complementary Medicine (BCCM) to act as the NTO for Complementary Medicine. Since there are already some 430 ICM affiliated organisations dedicated to setting national standards, these will co-operate with BCCM and give it a great start. This is the first time that such an opportunity has been available and we all have the chance to work towards the future unity for which so many have prayed for so long.

When we look at research, we find similar problems which stem from the unwillingness or lack of ability of science to reflect on the traditions which have governed conventional medicine over thousands of years. The ancient truths which served our ancestors so well are no less true today – it is simply that science has developed a pharmaceutical and surgical approach which has now become pre-eminent in the West and cannot, yet, appreciate a spiritual or healing dimension.

Consider the huge commitment to cancer research. In spite of the financial input over the last fifty years, the percentage of cases which die remains roughly constant. No one has yet found the elusive drug which will make the breakthrough, be protected by a patent and provide untold wealth for the inventor. For such a prize, no one would feel anything but praise for such a benefactor and no one would begrudge a Nobel Prize.

The idea of a diet being used to treat Cancer has long been in the market-place. Writers have discussed the part played by various food supplements but the scientific conclusion has been that there is no guarantee that they work under controlled trials. It is accepted that Vitamins A, B Complex, C, E, Citric Acid, Iodine, Iron, Sulphur amongst others can each play a part in controlling the development of cancer cells. But what if the human body requires all these to ensure that the immune system can work correctly? Individually, they can help but only if the body is short of that particular substance. What would be the result of a complex treatment given to all on the principle that with full support the immune system will work to optimum capacity?

This approach was first researched by Dr. Moerman in Holland as early as 1939. In 1983 the SIKON Study found that 40% of solid tumour cancers were cured by the Moerman therapy alone, 36.66% were cured after an initial treatment with another therapy and 23.33% could not be cured. Following thorough research and investigation in to the Moerman Therapy, the Ministry of Health at the Hague, an organisation akin to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bestowed its official seal of approval on Dr. Moerman’s cancer treatment. (Quotation from Dr. Moerman’s Anti-cancer Diet Avery Publishing Group ISBN 0-89529-439-7. Information on Dr. Moerman’s Diet from George Hill BRCP, Optimum Energy Clinic, Les Grande Rocques, Castel, Guernsey, Channel Islands. Please enclose SAE.)

Currently we are all facing the UK Government desire to see the higher strengths of Vitamin B6 removed from general availability. This appears to be based on the supposition that the general public must be protected from taking a substance which might give side-effects if it is consumed at 5 times the recommended dosage over a period of time. Other vitamins and minerals may be under similar threat unless this proposal by Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) is stopped.

The ICM, amongst others, will be talking to MAFF about this unjustified restriction on food supplements which play a central part in the treatment of disease, including cancer. If food supplements produced at strengths above the RDA are categorised as drugs, it is possible to see the commercial benefits which can be achieved by those capable to manufacturing and providing them under the controlled conditions of the pharmaceutical industry. These standards may not be exactly matched under Food Safety legislation. It is then just a step towards sale through pharmacies – perhaps on prescription.

The treatment of cancer is similar to that of all disease and this requires an approach which aims to balance all levels of consciousness – body, mind, emotions and vitality or spirit. Neglect any of these and the healing may well not be complete. The famous saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln “Gentleman, if we do not hang together we will assuredly hang separately” sums up the current situation. However, it is not as bad as some would have us believe. Leon Chaitow highlights many of the problems which have yet to be resolved but unity of purpose is now being achieved at a greater degree than ever before. As we focus on the unity which is present, the professional problems are being dissolved by discussion and negotiation. There is now the chance to unite under the banner of an NTO for Complementary Medicine and the knowledge which is common to all complementary medical personnel – healing. In this way we can all serve the best interests of humanity because we are all fighting a common enemy – disease. This is the real fight which we must all win.

Michael Endacott
Research Director, ICM

“Astonishing” Core Energy

After reading the first article in the series by Jon Whale on ‘Core Energy’ surgery for the electromagnetic body, I went to see him and his partner Shanti Cole. The article had given me an intuitive feeling that I should do this.

For me, experiencing the difference in myself after my visit was astonishing. It seems to me that if I describe the experiences that followed it I will not be able to convey them. Instead, I just want to say that I am convinced that their work has enormous value.

My experience of life has changed in a profound way, but the way I feel now feels natural and right. I have vastly more energy than I did before, more confidence, more emotional strength and more ability to be positive, all things I had previously believed to be purely determined by upbringing, unresolved emotional hurts, and so on. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth. . .”

Sophia Smith

Stop the limitation of vitamin supplements!

Positive Health reported in April (Issue 19) that vitamin supplements can reduce risks of early death from cancer and heart attacks by 50%. Therefore, I am concerned that there are plans to restrict the content of vitamin supplements in Britain. This is not for safety reasons – because vitamins are very safe – but so we can ’harmonise‘ with other countries.

Could I urge that anyone interested should write to their MP asking him/her to sign in favour of the Early Day Motion 520 – Dietary Supplements, which is trying to stop the restrictions of vitamins. Also contact Consumers for Health Choice, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London SW1P 2JJ, enclosing an SAE.

Bureaucrats want to limit vitamin supplements which are only enough to prevent extreme deficiency diseases such as scurvy. For optimum health, higher intakes are needed.

Without effective vitamins we will be much more reliant on strong pharmaceutical drugs with their potential side-effects. 1 in 20 hospital beds is occupied by people damaged by prescribed drugs. So act now!

G. Wells

Rule 1: There are no Rules

I have to disagree with your editorial (Issue 19) when you say “The development of universal recognised training standards. . . will be welcomed. . .“ My experience, as both a writer of standards and as a trainer in Complementary Therapy, is that standards are often counter productive.

During the First Degree Reiki courses that I run, I write on the flip chart “Rule 1: There are No Rules”. Inevitably this results in a cheer or some expression of relief. Holistic medicine is about taking personal responsibility for our life and health. . . not about following somebody else’s rules.

Until last year I was chairman of a European Standards Committee (on Electronics Reliability) having spent 17 years in the Quality profession. This experience convinced me that standards serve two useful purposes:

1.    To get recognised experts together to discuss just what is important in doing a ‘good job’ – this being a function of the standards making process rather than of the standards themselves.

2.    To provide guidance to those new to the discipline as to how to be more effective in their work.
What also became clear is that too rigid standards discourage practitioners from thinking for themselves and rarely allows for the very diverse range of real situations.

I suggest that standards result in dogma and inflexibility which are major causes of our dis-eased society. Far better surely to encourage everybody to listen to and follow their inner truth. Is not divine guidance a better ‘standard’ for us to be following?

Keith Beasley

The Editor Replies:

I agree with Mr Beasley that standards which are dogmatic and enforced in an overly rigid manner may be counterproductive and discourage excellence and originality.

However, if ever one needed proof of the dire necessity for the existence of quality standards, one could not find a better example than the situation described in Dr Lawrence Plaskett’s article (see pages 50—55) regarding quality control and genuineness of Aloe vera products. There are certain products on sale to the consumer purporting to be Aloe vera, but which in reality are diluted with water or adulterated with maltodextrin or glucose. In the case of Aloe vera, the industry has started to police itself by signing up to the standards certified by the International Aloe Science Council. In the absence of standards, there would be no way for an individual to know whether he or she were buying Aloe vera or just water with added sugars.

Standards for the training of practitioners are of paramount importance. Therapists need to be trained to an agreed level of competence in their field, whether it be aromatherapy, herbal medicine or psychotherapy. Who amongst us would like to visit for treatment a therapist who has undertaken merely a weekend, or a short correspondence course in their particular therapy? Would you like to be treated for your allergies or backache by someone who has not passed an examination demonstrating their mastery of basic human anatomy, biology, physiology, psychology etc, not to speak of their particular discipline? I certainly would not.

The sooner each therapy can agree a standard level for training, the better. I see absolutely no role for “divine guidance”, whatever that entails, regarding standards of products and practitioners in complementary medicine. 


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