APNT recently attended a meeting with the Parliamentary Group for Integrated Health which highlighted recent studies at the University of Northampton, headed by Chris Roe of the Psychology Department. The aim of the studies was to test and scrutinise healing therapies. This study was funded by the Confederation of Healing Organisations, but the team worked independently. For the intents and purposes of this study, healing is defined as: interaction between one individual and another with the intention of healing.
The main question was “Focused Attention: Can it be noticed?”
To give you an idea of the tenacity of this study, I want to tell you a few other details. Personal testimonials were not accepted as they could be placebo. Everything was done in a clinical approach, meaning there was creation of comparison condition, random allocation, blinding of participants, blinding of those they encounter, and blinding of those who recorded the outcomes. This study included humans as well as plants and other living objects.
In the yearly review, unfortunately, there were many variables that were not considered, and although much evidence was found in favour of the benefit of healing therapies, there were also many concerns of quality. Their studies showed to measure different things, so they tried to refine. In the end it was decided that more studies are needed to supplement the variables, and more mixing of healers and researchers.
Although this result might seem disappointing or anti-climatic, it is an incredibly important documentation. The variables found could not have been known without the studies, and the next study will then be a step ahead. This was not a failed study, it was considered inconclusive. The goal is to get the big guys involved.
This leads us to the real core of what this meeting was really all about: to raise the awareness and acceptance of healing. Raise the Bar. To be able to reach that goal, we currently must follow the route clinical trials as those used in mainstream medicine. This is because clinical trials are believed in; almost as religious beliefs. We are currently in a shift, though, as we are seeing several accounts of falsified information within conventional medicine trials. Many are trying to move away from standard trials as people with different conditions respond in different ways. There is no such thing as an unscientific claim, only unscientific methods.
Conventional Medicine trials typically answer the question: Does it work, or doesn’t it work?
For the industry of Healing and other Complementary Therapies, we are looking to answer the question: Who does it work for and in what circumstances?
We are currently seeing huge pressure on A&E departments. Adverse Drug reactions; botch ups; Conventional Medicine and hospitals showing cracks. The basis of what decisions are made is using medical conditions. There are just too many conditions, and too many drugs in conventional medicine. We should be encouraging and teaching people how to look after their health. Alternative and Complementary medicines could drastically lighten the load of conventional medicine.
It must be noted that the Managing Director of Balens Insurance, whom has over 85,000 clients on the books, was at this meeting. He could not disclose the number of claims through Balens, although MP David Tredinnick did try and get it out of him! He did, however, state that claims are virtually non-existent. Balens is currently working on software platforms for patients to buy into to make the patient experience even more involved with their therapist and add to credibility to the industry.
“All that is wanted is for Alternative medicines to not be seen as witchcraft. For it to be acknowledged that in all other cultures, in all time, healing has been central. For it to be integrated alongside medicine.”
During these types of discussions, there will always be reference to the importance of regulation in the industry. Margaret Coats, of the CNHC states that “There has been a lack of using the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to integrate, even though CNHC is accredited. CNHC have asked the PSA to approach the General Medical Council and make specific reference to GPs referring to PSA accredited Therapists.”
This leads us into where the conversation ends. It is a lot easier to see a change when the public as a whole asks for it. Let’s stop trying to convince the inconvincible. ¾ of Britain has used Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Let’s convince them; Let them tell the Politicians. Let’s create a 21st century approach for human medicine. Encourage people to look after themselves. Engage citizens to change the system!
If you are interested in more information regarding the studies at Southampton University, you can write to Chris Roe Direct at:
If you are interested in more information regarding the Confederation of Healing Organisations funding research, please visit: http://www.the-cho.org.uk/education-and-research/cho-and-research/