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Editorial Issue 37

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 37 - February 1999

During my lifetime, and particularly during the past 15 years, I have been at the receiving end of frankly outrageous diagnoses from a variety of practitioners, some of them fairly high profile and well-respected within their discipline. There was the hypnotic regression by a homoeopath for a sore throat and loss of my voice, which produced the astonishing assertion that my mother had been my lover in a past life and had tried to strangle me as a baby in this lifetime! For the same complaint there was another hypnotherapist who regressed me back into past lives and said that I had been burned at the stake during the 14th century for being a homoeopath! Then there was the inordinate attention paid to some white marks on my nails by a medical physician as evidence of a nutritional deficiency, whereas in truth I had merely got some white paint on my nails!

Accurate diagnosis or discovery of the nature of the problem is certainly one of the most crucial aspects of medicine and healthcare; a wrong diagnosis can, in the case of life-threatening diseases such as cancer or meningitis, be deadly.

It has also amazed me that certain practitioners with diametrically opposed therapeutic approaches to various health problems, such as arthritis, back pain or even cancer, can be so supremely self-confident that only their particular approach is the right one. And, even more coincidental that many if not all their patients get diagnosed with the same problem.

Thus, if one therapist specialises in past-life regression, or re-birthing, it is peculiar how many of the causes of the health problems of his or her patients seem to be related to problems at birth or even in a past life. Or, that the majority of the patients who visit certain nutritionally oriented practitioners specialising in allergies or candida always seem to be suffering from allergies or candida.

If I present to a practitioner for back ache, skin rash or painful periods, I don't expect that practitioner to filter his or her examination and case history through the lens of his speciality or flavour of the month condition.

Of course, depending upon the training and speciality of the practitioner, you would expect to receive the sort of treatment in which the practitioner is expert. In fact, you might be visiting that therapist precisely because of their skill in a particular condition. You would be surprised to receive Alexander Technique lessons from a homoeopath, chiropractic manipulation from an acupuncturist, or autogenic training from a nutritionist. And you would not expect a surgeon to suggest a nutritional regime as a prelude to surgery just yet.

However, even within every professional discipline, there remains a generalism about the health and case history of each individual person which transcends the narrow confines of a particular therapeutic speciality. A good practitioner, whatever their speciality, must have an all-round training in physical, emotional and psycho-spiritual health, so that they can recognise that clients presenting for skin problems or irritable bowel syndrome, for example, might benefit from seeing a practitioner of clinical hypnosis in addition to their own therapy.

This is what has made the solid bedrock of the general practitioner (GP) in medicine. The general practitioner has a wide knowledge of health such that people presenting with whatever symptoms – headache, rash, diarrhoea – can receive a reasonable diagnosis with suggested treatment, or be referred to a specialist. The drawbacks to most present-day GPs is that their training regarding treatment is mainly confined to drugs, rather than natural therapies. So I visit my GP to receive a diagnosis and then decide upon which complementary therapy practitioner to visit, depending upon my complaint.

And this is precisely where cross-fertilisation from co-operation of practitioners will come into its own right. The ideal "holistic" model of healthcare in my opinion, would be to have as gatekeeper, a practitioner of the skill and knowledge of a GP, with thorough training in the major modalities of complementary medicine – nutrition, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hypnosis – working in a healthcare centre alongside practitioners of these disciplines. Several of these centres of excellence, have already been established and have been flourishing in the UK and internationally within the past decade, as has been documented within Positive Health. It is to be hoped that as further integration of complementary medicine into the NHS progresses, that the ordinary GP surgery become more and more a "holistic" centre of excellence.


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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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