Should alternative medicine be offered by the NHS?
It’s Mind & Body month here at Silversurfers. For the month of October, we’re exploring different aspects of physical and mental wellbeing.
Today’s Speaker’s Corner is all about alternative medicine – do you think it should be offered on the NHS?
Complementary and alternative medicine is an incredibly controversial topic; everything from Chinese medicine and acupuncture, to homeopathy, chiropractic, osteopathic and hypnotherapy can fall under the umbrella of alternative medicines.
These treatments fall outside of mainstream healthcare – they are offered privately and for the most part are not officially recognised or recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Most practitioners train to become professionals through privately accredited courses and their work is not regulated by the same standards as that of a GP or nurse working for the NHS.
This means that there’s no way to know whether you are seeing a practitioner who will truly help you or are pursuing treatment that has little more to offer you than a large invoice and some false hope.
Evidence as to the effectiveness of these treatments is varied.
Studies have shown for example that the once widely-lauded practice of homeopathic treatment – whereby you take small doses of diluted remedies – is little more than a placebo effect.
In other cases, alternative medicines just simply don’t have the same amount of research to support them as treatments such as chemotherapy do. Lack of evidence simply means lack of evidence rather than proof it doesn’t work.
Many smokers report hypnotherapy has helped them quit for good. Others rely on chiropractic and osteopathy to help manage and relieve back pain and see real improvement from doing so. The Alexander technique, for example, is a treatment often recommended for those with Parkinson’s Disease.
If you do rely on alternative or complementary medicine it can quickly become costly, and unless you have private health insurance there are few options to help cover the cost of treatment.
So today we’re asking you: do you believe alternative medicine should be offered through the NHS? Or should resources be focused on treatments backed by better research? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
What are your views?
We'd love to hear your comments
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