Recently I gave a talk about Nutrition and Cancer Research to post graduate Nutrition students at the Centre for Nutrition and Lifestyle Management (CNELM).
Despite my lengthy 3-hour seminar, I could but impart a small flavour of the huge body of published research, books and clinical information amassed to date. Here are links to the topics covered.
In these days of globalization, instant communications, internet and social networking access, it has becoming increasing clear in all areas of life, not solely regarding health, that some of the most important issues driving health policy and legal issues have little to do with health or research, but more to do with money, power, influence and agenda. These are entities held in abundance by the established order, not just in healthcare, but in matters dealing with politics, arms, governments and the environment.
The many and disparate disciplines under the umbrella of Natural or Complementary or Alternative Medicine have not to date managed to unite into a powerful force to counter the resources of those in the medical and pharmaceutical establishment. Thus, the old adage 'divide and conquer' seems to prevail, with many salient yet ineffectual efforts by the many individuals and organizations in the Complementary sector attempting to advance the causes for more research funding, more recognition and finally more choices in treatment other than prescription drugs, shown to kill more than 100,000 individuals each year in the USA.
"According to a 1995 US iatrogenic report, "Over a million patients are injured in U.S. hospitals each year, and approximately 280,000 die annually as a result of these injuries...Of the 783,936 annual deaths due to conventional medical mistakes, about 106,000 are from prescription drugs, according to Death by Medicine. That also is a conservative number. Some experts estimate it should be more like 200,000 because of underreported cases of adverse drug reactions."
Some 25 years ago, when I first arrived in the UK, I recall attending an Exhibition like CAMEXPO, with a 'round table' discussion attended by delegates from each of the approximately 20-15 disciplines represented. Although I can't remember every discipline present, what I do remember is a very lively debate before a packed audience, goading them on to meet up in the future to form a body to discuss regulation, education and issues affecting practitioners. They couldn't even agree to meet following the event. Pathetic!! That was in 1986.
During the 1990s several professions including Aromatherapy and Osteopathy commenced formalizing their National Occupational Standards, and forming associations with the views of training and regulation. In the early 2000s this was extended to the majority of professions; however regulation, standards, training are still contentious and far from complete in 2009; in fact at the present time, it appears that there is still a battle raging between the professions, the government and NHS for control of who dictates and determines training and standards. In an article in the current issue of The Fulcrum, Cathy Willis a practitioner who recently graduated in Craniosacral Therapy (CST) eloquently argues:
"...For the 'cranial therapy' occupational standard, a list of common activities is given for assessment, planning and evaluating of a cranial session. To me it looks complex, pedantic and too details. No therapist is going to imagine that such a list of activities will give a realistic view of what actually happens in a session... Is craniosacral therapy in the process of being reduced to a couple of pages within the government's workforce development policy?...Over the next couple of years, the next stage of regulation will probably be a review of the regulating bodies for complementary therapies...it could be proposed that all therapy associations should voluntarily register with one body, i.e. the government-funded quango - the Complementary and natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)."
From my perspective of observing Complementary Medicine over 25 years and researching the politics of cancer research over much of the past 100 years, I have gradually come to the conclusion that the dominance of the power structures over the innovators, the mavericks and geniuses who develop treatments and even cures for serious illnesses, is not down to the superiority of the conventional treatments, quite the reverse, but to their greater power, resources, political clout and organizational strength.
Individual doctors, nurses and complementary practitioners are quite rightly engaged in their day-to-day professional duties and rarely become involved in the political and bureaucratic battles over regulation; it is the power structures, the governing bodies, organizations and lobbies who exercise their power and influence.
In the absence of powerful and highly resourced bodies fighting for the rights of individuals to freely access Nutritional, Herbal and Homeopathic medicines which have been shown over many decades to be virtually devoid of side effects, and certainly not causing many deaths, if at all, there is now an effective way in which individuals can exercise their power and right to choose natural medicines - and that is to lobby directly through organizational bodies via the internet.
An example of such an issue with Homeopathy is published in this issue's Letters section. In this section is also a description of the parlous political situation in Canada regarding their fight to stop what the Canadian Coalition for Health Freedom call the "Constitutionally invalid, Totalitarian New World Order Bill C-6".
I would say unreservedly that the majority of individuals everywhere do not wish to have dietary food supplements being regulated as drugs. Please also support the fight to save herbal and nutritional medicines:
2. Willis C. Who can beset say what we do? Defining and regulating craniosacral therapy. The Fulcrum Issue 48. 2009. www.craniosacral.co.uk
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