Changing the conversation about health

September complementary medicine roundup 2016

Complementary Medicine Practitioners who aim to provide their treatment specialism within an integrated healthcare system will require a comprehensive resource of information, including evidence-based research, to support and enhance their practice.

So Clinical Aromatherapists will want to congratulate the editors of the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy (‘ijca’), Rhiannon Lewis and Gabriel Mojay, who, with the support of an expert international editorial board, are celebrating the Journal’s twelfth year as ‘the foremost evidence-based aromatherapy resource with direct relevance to professional aromatherapists working in a range of clinical environments.’

From the 2nd to the 5th September at Sussex University the ijca will be hosting Botanica 2016,an international conference of clinical aromatherapy and herbal therapeutics… that brings together producers, researchers, practitioners, suppliers and health care professionals for over 3 days of rich and profitable exchanges.’ Conference registration details may be found here.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which claims to produce a series of national clinical guidelines to secure consistent, high quality, evidence-based care for patients using the National Health Service, has published (March 2016) a Draft Consultation regarding guidelines  for the (invasive and non-invasive) treatments and management of Non-specific low back pain and sciatica.

Complementary Medicine practitioners may want to refer to pages 4 to 6 of the ‘short version’ draft guide (see the above link) which considers the application of: ‘manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques (for example, massage) for managing non-specific low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of multi-modal treatment packages’  (1.2.7). The draft guidance goes on to make proposals relating to ‘Psychological Therapy’ (1.2.13) and ‘Combined physical and psychological programmes’ (1.2.14). It does ‘not offer acupuncture for managing non-specific low back pain with or without sciatica’ (1.2.8), although acupuncture was included in the May 2009 (CG88) NICE Guidelines.

To respond to the draft consultation you or your professional organisation will need to be registered as a Stakeholder here.

Although the media is, quite rightly, providing extensive cover of news and opinions about the consequences of the UK leaving the EU (‘Brexit’), little of this has focused on the complementary medicine sector. Practitioners could start by reviewing the feature Brexit and natural health – what next’, written and published by Rob Verkerk PhD, which may be found on the Alliance for Natural Health website.

Dr Verkerk’s online publication includes a SWOT analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ‘of Brexit and the future of natural health in the UK.’

As ever, complementary medicine practitioners including those who aspire to contribute to the integrated healthcare of their patients must be vigilant and pro-active when reviewing existing or prospective changes that will affect their practice. This will become even more imperative over the coming months and years as the relevant policies, rules, regulations, codes of practice and laws are being negotiated and re-written to reflect the aims and needs of a UK existing outside the EU.

Lobby your professional association and generally participate in these negotiations to ensure that your voice and those of your patients are being heard. At this crucial time, the right to practise and to receive complementary medicine is open to threat and to challenge.

Richard Eaton