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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. 

 

Should alternative medicine be offered through the NHS?

109 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

What are your views?

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Reikijo
6th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Please do not refer to “alternative medicines” they are complementary,
Many hospices now offer Reiki to patients, their families and staff.. it is complementary to treatment and brings relief from the stresses of getting through an often difficult time.
glynisfoors
7th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
I completely agree with you. I have been working as a complementary therapist for 20 years and I know there is a place for orthodox medicine so I loathe the term "alternative" . I think this is where Complementary therapies get a bad press. It works very well alongside Orthodox medicine and can help a number of conditions ,especially stress related ones but I would never recommend a client stops taking their medication. However I do think if people could have Complementary therapies on the NHS it would free up soctors to help those people who really need them.
Irene88
3rd Nov 2017
0
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NHS has too many things to deal with already. If people want complimentary care fine, but it shouldn't come out of NHS budget unless proven to work.

We already spend too much on self inflicted illnesses, cosmetic surgery, etc.
AudreyF8
28th Oct 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
I think acupuncture should certainly be offered. I believe it is already offered in some surgeries, but certainly not all. I have no idea how it works, but it certainly does for some things -- migraine headaches for one.
fifer90
27th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Too Costly for NHS Budgets at present.
melisende
26th Oct 2017
0
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How on earth do people think that the NHS can offer alternative medicine when they are struggling so much in present times!
MaryL6
26th Oct 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
I have voted yes but I do think it should still require a referral from a medical professional and only registered and trusted therapist should be used. There are benefits from many treatments that will give people a better quality of life. It could save NHS money if managed well. e.g. Reduce mental health issues, time off work, less GP appointments.
ClareC6
26th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
I believe that the NHS should consider the use of alternative medicine particularly in cases where mainstream treatment has been ineffective.
Wilf
25th Oct 2017
1
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Yes but only if they have been properly tested like all medicines are. Also do they actually work? If they do surely they are actually medicines anyway?
Lionel
25th Oct 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Are they medicines anyway, Wilf. Well, no, not as such. Here I speak of vitamins and minerals principally.

The therapeutic effects of vitamins and minerals in doses way above the RDA have been tested, but Big Pharma, it seems, has conspired to prevent these spectacular results being published. There is sufficient evidence for that statement.

Generally the Great British, and American, public has been kept in ignorance of these facts whilst Big Pharma makes huge profits.

But, in any discussion about vitamins and minerals there remains one outstanding fact. In the USA 2 years ago, 150,000 people died from prescribed medication, mostly inappropriately prescribed stuff. No one is recorded as having dies from a vitamin overdose, but so very many, including my wife and I, have benefitted from a reasonable application of these in place of Big Pharma's drugs.

Another long post from me probably isn't going to be welcome in the community, but I'll write more if you wish.
Wilf
25th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Lionel yes please tell more. Its a subject I haven't really read much about. My view has always been the big drug companies are desperate the develop the new drugs as they are so lucrative financially so they are driven to get the best.
Lionel
25th Oct 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Wilf, this is a vast subject I can't hope to cover in a couple of posts. But, after the post if you care to go to Chat I'll step you through what I know. It will take a while.

But for now, Big Pharma, big money, big clout especially with the media and governments. I think that's a given. They drown out lesser voices who have a valid statement to make.

Vitamin therapy is not new. Captain Cook (1728 - 1779) is well known to have used citrus fruits to combat scurvy on his ships. For what it's worth, scurvy is increasingly witnessed by medics in the UK today - severe lack of vitamin C. It is a killer! Even Biblically it is easy to determine what the Children of Israel were doing 3000 years ago. Staggering thought. Since Cook there has been a steady progression of understanding, mostly not widely publicised. Thanks to the Americans, and us Brits, we have reached a point where big Pharma might just be Pharma.

During the Forties two American doctors, both Phd's were unhappy about the then current therapies. They picked up on some old writings and experimented with dying patients. Cancer patients. They inject up to 200 grams of vitamin C a day to these patients who, within days, recovered. Of course their writings were suppressed.

Yet they carried on. They didn't lose a patient, no, in fact most made a good and quick recovery and went back to normal life.

Around that time in America, a nutritional therapist, Adelle Davis, followed their progress and widened her own researches. She wrote a number of books, all of which I have and have studied. Studied intensively. In the early fifties she collated the works of others striving in this field and published.

Essentially what she said was, we may be healthy and well through our food, if it is good quality food. Over 20 years she developed her thesis, and another, Dr. Andrew Saul has picked up the gauntlet. His website, doctoryourself.com carries on Davies' work.

Today it is called orthomolecular medicine; or vitamin therapy as we know it. I've used it for 14 years and even this year beaten recurring glandular fever with it.
linj
25th Oct 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Nope Lionel, I find most of your posts interesting and especially enjoy the banter between you and Wilfred. So keep doing what your doing.
Lionel
25th Oct 2017
3
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Thank you so much. I hope we may offer some entertainment as well as hope.
linj
26th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
You certainly do that guys.
Wilf
26th Oct 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Very interesting Lionel. I am a firm believer in "you are what you eat" and like a lot of fruit and veg. i have also in the past few years been eating a few nuts each day and noticed my skin has got less dry. I do think a lot of what we eat is contaminated with chemicals and quite frankly think we will look back in 200 years and wonder why on earth we are living the way we are with all the chemicals around us. We get ill with cancers etc and wonder why.
Wilf
26th Oct 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
Many thanks linj-Lionel and I do like a bit of banter especially when it comes to politics!-well ts a free country after all and long may that continue...a lot of the world isn't and thats another reason to keep the beacon on freedom shining in good old Blighty!
Lionel
26th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Wilf, I'm not suggesting for a moment any one therapy - type has the ascendancy. No, rather saying there's more out there than allotropic medicine allows. Any treatment must be the most appropriate we have according to a particular malady.

Yes, I too am a firm believer in that phrase, you are what you eat. That's why both my wife and I are careful what goes down our necks. We chose this house partly because it had a 1/1o acre garden. I would have liked more. As often said we grow much of our fruit and veg, have hens for eggs. I'd have a couple of pigs too but local bye laws forbid that.

That doesn't mean to say we're purists, no, neither are we 'foodies.' We use daily doses of vitamins to maintain health and well being, alongside garden grown food.

For us diving into the local supermarket for our food is like sheep being led astray. Res, we do a little shopping there, but leave processed foods where they belong, on the shelves.
glynisfoors
7th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Unfortunately the majority of medicines have unpleasant side affects that are often as bad if not worse than the origional condition. C9mplementary therapies on the other hand,do not . They are either effective or not. As a majority of medical conditions are stress related ,this is where the main benefits of complementary therapies can be helpful. Therefore cutting down the need for medication and freeing up the doctors for those that really need them. Hence the term Complementary rather than Alternative.
Wilf
7th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Thanks Glynisfloors and agree that many medicines have unpleasant effects. I am just worried that complimentary therapies are not subject to the same rigorous testing that drugs are.
glynisfoors
7th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes,that is unfortunate ,but the majority of Complementary therapies have no side effects ,so therefore do no harm.,even if they do not work for a particular person.
Wilf
7th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
In your opinion do they usually work?
Lionel
25th Oct 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
I think the article above is rather slanted towards conventional, allotropic medicine. Not good journalistic practice.

In answer to the question, why is there a dichotomy between allotropic medicine and so called complimentary treatments? Surely the welfare of a patient must come first. If conventional medicine doesn't have a realistic answer, and so often they don't, why cannot the NHS include so-called complementary practitioners on it's rolls?

34 years ago an NHS doctor gave up on me. I had sustained a very severe injury to the sacral injury of my spine. Having refused the then standard treatment of fusing vertabrae together my then doctor threw up his hands in disbelief, never to be seen again. mercifully, another local doctor suggested osteopathy- but it would be at my expense. After six months of treatment I could walk again. Another three and I could drive. It cost me everything I had but what price walking, what price the dignity of working again?

These last fifteen years I've been researching vitamin therapies, and with some amount of success. The last doctor I saw poo-pooed the idea and I was struck off her list. Still here doctor, and in better shape than you were when last I saw you!
Rosiecat
24th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Can't vote as there are alternative treatments(not medicine please, how can osteopathy be medicine!) which are actually complementary. Perhaps a little more research is needed before you ask such questions again. I can add screeds about things which used to be thought odd which are now mainstream - essential oils in maternity suites for one.
Bellaroseofnm
24th Oct 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
I used to have a Dr. here in the US that would treat me first homeopathically and if that didn't work then she would change to standard medicine. It worked out great and I miss having that option. Unfortunately the insurance I currently have doesn't allow for anything but the standard. Wish it did.

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