find out moreHi all
Further down is an email I received.
CAM has its critics but the public have a right to seek out professional advice from those with a true vocation and who are able to get results and attract valid testimonials. The public deserve and need to be protected against the activities of charlatans and their large scale advertising campaigns which create 'illness' for them to sell their wares. The ideology of all CAM is the precise opposite to this. Sincere CAM professionals need a supportive and progressive regulator who understands CAM is part of the solution and minimisation of chemical use.
It should be recognised that certainly initially CAM does not require two degrees as MDs do. That is one of the advantages of aromatherapy as a CAM foundation as its training can be quickly acquired by midwives and nurses and is encompassed in a course with the intellectual content of the first year of a university degree.
This book is a great read. Today hormone replacement therapy for vitality in later life is part of mainstream medical practice. It wasnt always that way! Reading it you can see todays hucksters are not to be found in the membership of professional CAM organisations though of course professional standards require policing. Even MDs periodically are struck off as they are as prone to human change and failing as the rest of us. As for the successful isolation of testosterone - that was funded by the Nazis for wholly differant purposes to that in mind by American researchers. Make love not war as they say and the GI showed us (eventually, as we Brits and Russkis say) a man can do both.
There is much in this book to give mainstream practitioners food for thought.
Osteopathy and chiropractors are a favourite target for sceptics but have an evidently high standing among their customers. Like all therapies they have their disasters as well as achievements.
It is not quite cricket to quote HL Menken H.L. Mencken (1924) on chiropractic
“This preposterous quackery flourishes lushly in the back reaches of the Republic, and begins to conquer the less civilized folk of the big cities.”
He and Morris Fishbein of the AMA railed constantly against chiropractics for twenty years with no obvious effect because plenty of people have benefitted from their expertise and dedication. H.L Menken also gave us the excellent quote 'Puritanism...the haunting fear that someone somewhere might be happy'. The customers of chiropractics seem pretty happy with them.
Find out more about chiropractors
That said CAM has to be careful not to wander off the reservation. I think most people would be sceptical about claims that manipulation of the spine can heal infant illness and even earache. At the same time many people know of acquintances who have spinal injuries for example from car crashes and find regular visits to a chiropractor more than helpful. Sick people should go to their MD.
As I understand it Mr Colquhoun is a CAM sceptic but now hired by CNHC to assist with regulation of the CAM professionals.
Some CAM therapies have made their reputation in assisting with womens ailments. Common female ailments are not any man's specialist subject ( I agree should read 'naturally a mans not any mans' eg gynecologists have this as a specialist subject ......but surgical gynecology thats not a common ailment? by common ailments I mean acne, anxiety, athletes foot, baby colic, baby coughs and colds, baby fretful, baby nappy rash, baby teething, back pain, blood pressure high, blood pressure low, breast abscess, bronchitis, bursitis, cellulite, chickenpox, common cold, constipation, cramp, cystitis, diarrhoea, eczema, emotional stress, fluid retention, footcare, gastric flatulence, gout, haemorrhoids, headaches, herpes, impetigo, indigestion, leg ulcers, measles, menopause, mumps, osteoarthritis (the condition which prompted Shirley Price to begin her journey with essential oils) , periods - heavy, lack of, painful, pmt, post natal infections, rheumatoid arthritis, ringworm, sex drive problems, sprains, stretch marks, thrus, varicose veins, weight loss, ref R Caddy BSc, ARCS, MISPA Aromatherapy p8,9) to which i'd add burns, wounds, warts, introduced infection and the most vocal sceptics appear to be men. In fact I dont know of a female sceptic (I do now!). Most MDs faced with a common ailment will point to the door and invite the patient to pull themselves together. They are there to treat ill people and given their workload just dont have the time a complementary therapist or nurse or midwife have to assist relieve a common ailment. You go to a gynecolgist for example if you have the bad luck to have your bowl, vagina and bladder walls stuck together as a result of a tough childbirth and the unavailability of a caesarian and so need surgical reconstruction. ok scepchicks on burns now here is a classic example of aromatherapy underselling itself. The standard story of Gattefosse burning himself and plunging his hand into lavender oil and finding pain relief and a rapid recovery without scarring is an elegant precis (its a french word but you dont have to be french to understand it) but that is all it is. In fact the laboratory explosion set fire to his clothes and I know how distressing that is. So he went outside and rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames (as you certainly do!). The burns were the least of his difficulties he describes gas gangrene he contracted from ground contact which he used lavender oil to treat. The french military have since time immemorial used lavender et al to treat gangrene. Napoleon went on campaign with 200 tonnes of horsedrawn cologne and it wasnt to impress the opposition. There was an impressive meeting of two traditions in the Crimea with the British Navy and Army using Chamomile to treat lice in bedding and the French other oils like Lavender to treat wounds.
As the science of CAM attracts more attention and light is shed on how CAM practicioners obtain their results this attracts more scientific study. Indeed CAM provides plenty of scope for scientific researchers for example to tell us about the quality of sunlight as it is received on planet earth and energy flows. I look forward to discussing the science of all this for example the underlying principles of reflexology and acupuncture. No one disputes the effectiveness of professional acupuncture not since chinese surgeons were filmed performing open heart surgery with acupuncture providing the only pain relief. There is nothing less scientific than to dispute the evidence of our own eyes. Wrong! The video to which you refer showed a patient receiving both acupuncture and anesthetics. Don't believe me? http://www.dcscience.net/?p=14. Errata Sorry the full quote was concious and talking to his surgeons so I figured no anesthetics was involved thanks for this. See BBC comment below.
As regards disputing the value of spiritual healing that seems a rather futile position if that truely is Mr Colquhouns position. One has only to attend a local spiritual church congregation if other churches are uninspiring to see spiritual healing in real and convincing action. Personally I dont favour spiritualism as it can lead to mental imbalance and perhaps infertility for those who receive spiritual gifts. Celibacy is a routine vow for those on a spiritual path and evidently many think it a price worth paying in personal terms.
I agree an individual who takes a 10 hour indian head massage course and then sets out on a path of spiritual healing for a cash consideration deserves Mr Colquhoun's questioning and the public's. However the public's good sense can be relied upon to spot a phoney without too much official zeal. Spiritual matters tend to require a lifetime of study and are best left to those who have done that from a sense of vocation - incidentially with an accompanying vow of poverty!!
Also I think we need to regard all legislation as 'passing'. The english would not give up their hunting dogs and indeed were prepared to storm parliament in 2004 to show that. Nor will they be prepared to give up their traditional herbal medicine. The public see the value of professional advice in this area and it is their legal right to do so. One must have sympathy with the principles on which the CNHC was founded to ensure a profession which can maintain public confidence thrives and tricksters do not.
The public have every right to maintain their wellness through complimentary medicine and government has a duty to ensure as best there can be there is a self regulating profession to provide it and to listen to that profession. If Mr Colquhoun can contribute to that then that is a good thing. Unprofessional conduct rightly deserves expose by public advertisement, scorn and financial penalty. Any profession needs its regulatory zealots as well as to celebrate its practicioner stars.
Where professionals are committed to professional standards, the client-practicioner relationship of putting the client ahead of self, are willing to submit to a rigourous course of study and independant examination and then join a professional body, obtain and keep the necessary confidence of insurers, and contribute to the art and science of their profession and maintain competance through CPD then that is only to be encouraged!
I received this email below today. Thankyou. It is an interesting example of the attacks made on CAM. So lets look at them.
Colquhoun and the CNHC
(Complementary and Natural Health Care Council)
What is the CNHC …and why does it exist?
REFLEXOLOGY IS B******S!
Nutritional therapy self-styled ‘nutritionists’ making untrue claims about diet in order to sell you unnecessary supplements.
Reiki: tea and sympathy, accompanied by arm-waving.
Shiatsu uh? It seems the teacher is already committed to placebo medicine.
[All the above quotes – and many more – stated by David Colquhoun, CNHC Panel member]
1: Colquhoun and CNHC
2: More statements from Colquhoun
3: Want some more!!!
4: What to do
1. Colquhoun and CNHC
Colquhoun is a man who has steadfastly attacked, denigrated and taken all steps he can to undermine those involved in natural health. Yet Colquhoun is now (and has been for more than a year) a member of the CNHC’s Conduct and Competence Committee.
The role of CNHC is to regulate the professions of their members. But what is the rational behind allowing an avowed critic of natural medicine onto the Conduct and Competence Committee. Isn’t this like asking racist to be objective about the circumstances of racist crime?
Would you, as a practitioner having to answer to a complaint, be happy to have one of the panel members think your profession is “bollocks” or that everything you practice is fraudulent from the start?
Latest moves from the government now aim at putting all Herbal Practitioners under the authority of CNHC.
Do you want your personal and confidential data, and that of your patient/client in the hands of Colquhoun? What might happen to it?
Certainly every practitioner has to be responsible for their actions and practice but since when has it been standard practice to weigh the scales against you rather than be assessed by a panel of independent peers?
2. More statements by Colquhoun – nonsense, untrue, unnecessary, rectal obsession, mystic barmpot, fraud, theatrical placebo
In his “Patients’ guide to Magic medicine” http://www.dcscience.net/?page_id=733
Colquhoun summarizes many of the CNHC members’ professional activities (and other professions too) as follows:
* Reflexology: plain old foot massage, overlaid with utter nonsense about non-existent connections between your feet and your thyroid gland.
* Nutritional therapy: self-styled ‘nutritionists’ making untrue claims about diet in order to sell you unnecessary supplements.
* Spiritual healing: tea and sympathy, accompanied by arm-waving.
* Reiki: ditto.
* Angelic Reiki. The same but with added “Angels, Ascended Masters and Galactic Healers”. Excellent for advanced fantasists.
* Colonic irrigation: a rectal obsession that fails to rid you of toxins which you didn’t have in the first place.
* Anthroposophical medicine: followers of the mystic barmpot, Rudolf Steiner, for whom nothing whatsoever seems to strain credulity
* Alternative diagnosis: kinesiology, iridology, vega test etc, various forms of fraud, designed to sell you cures that don’t work for problems you haven’t got.
* Homeopathy: giving patients medicines that contain no medicine whatsoever.
* Herbal medicine: giving patients an unknown dose of an ill-defined drug, of unknown effectiveness and unknown safety.
* Acupuncture: a rather theatrical placebo, with no real therapeutic benefit in most if not all cases.
So what kind of organisation is CNHC and why have they put him on to their Conduct and Competence panel? Being a CNHC member seems to be like inflicting pain on yourself.
CNHC also received funding from the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH). Yet Colquhoun regularly lambasts the FIH and Prince Charles himself categorizing him as a “champion of endarkenment” http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2544 and calling the FIH the “Foundation Fellows of the Prince of Wales Foundation for Magic Medicine, an organisation that is at the forefront of spreading medical misinformation.” http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2131
Of course, no one expects that because an organisation provides funding it should be exempt from criticism – but surely, if you are working for an organisation whose purpose is to represent standards in a certain field, why would you have someone on your management team who fires out carping criticism at the supporting organisation, its practitioners and its practices – unless perhaps, it is your purpose to spread discord and cut the funding.
No wonder the CNHC has problems. Their business plan (contingent on funding) was initially to have more than 10,000 enrolled members. This has been revised down to 2,000 and by all counts they have not even made this. Not surprising if the practitioners whom you represent don’t have any trust in the organisation that is supposed to represent the standards of your profession.
3. Want some more!!! – fantasists, wrong and dangerous, largely quackery, lies, mumbo-jumbo, made-up fantasies, placebo medicine
On nutritional therapy
It is interesting to compare the high standards of the Nutrition Society with the quite different standards of BANT (the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy). They bill themselves as the “Professional Body for Nutritional Therapists”. Nutritional therapists are those fantasists who believe you can cure any ill by buying some supplement pills. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=1391
[On quotes taken from Nutritional Therapy text] That must be about as close as you can get to claiming you can prevent cancer by taking vitamin pills. It is wrong and it is dangerous,
Sigh. What century are we living in? http://www.dcscience.net/?p=555
Everyone is for good nutrition of course, but ‘nutritional medicine’, or ‘nutritional therapy’ pretends to be able to cure all sorts of diseases by changes in diet or by buying expensive nutritional supplement pills. It has no perceptible relationship to the very important subjects of ‘nutrition’ or ‘dietetics’. Nutritional therapy is very firmly part of alternative medicine, in other words it is largely quackery. If you don’t believe that, read on. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=260
As usual, not many seemed to care very much about the secondary consequences of employing a ‘reflexologist’, namely that some poor kid has to memorise a bunch of lies to get the piece of paper demanded by HR (and the taxpayer has to fund it). http://www.dcscience.net/?page_id=237
What is the evidence about ’spiritual healing’ ? Very little it seems.
No doubt, mumbo-jumbo can make some people feel better, and to that extent it is justified. But it can and should done be honestly (for example, foot massage is fine, ‘reflexology’ isn’t). Lies to patients should be minimised and universities should not be tempted to hand out certificates in mumbo jumbo. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=34
Michael McIntyre has the first of several long speeches, advocating more research. There was an advertisement for his web site "promotes best practice" (allegedly). He talks quite seriously about "reflexology" and so on, as though it were real subject (it isn’t; its "principles" are made-up fantasies). http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2813
Much of what they do at the Christie is straightforward massage, but they also promote the nonsensical principles of “reflexology” and acupuncture. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=1466
The hilarious Radio 4 programme, The News Quiz had a good joke. Jeremy Hardy was asked “which patients are hoping for a more robust constitution?”. This referred to the £1m PR exercise mounted by the NHS to launch the NHS constitution. Hardy said that in the week when Barack Obama was inaugurated, and “the word constitution have a whole different sort of gravita in a week like that.”
“I think the constitution should open with the words ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident REFLEXOLOGY IS *********” http://www.dcscience.net/?page_id=237
Shiatsu uh? It seems the teacher is already committed to placebo medicine. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=454
More useful links
The CAM world is pretty straitlaced and montonous. If like me you are wondering where all the heat on individual chiropractors in the UK has suddenly came from this is a useful link and worth reproducing in full below.
"Chiropractors have been censured by the advertising watchdog for making claims about conditions ranging from arthritis to learning difficulties.
As the British Chiropractic Association's battle with Simon Singh continues to work its way through the legal system, chiropractors are counting the financial costs of a major backlash resulting from a libel action that has left the Lord Chief Justice "baffled". What was originally a dispute between the BCA and one science writer over free speech has become a brutally effective campaign to reform an entire industry.
A staggering one in four chiropractors in Britain are now under investigation for allegedly making misleading claims in advertisements, according to figures from the General Chiropractic Council.
The council, which is responsible for regulating the profession and has 2,400 chiropractors on its books, informs me that it has had to recruit six new members of staff to deal with a fifteenfold increase in complaints against its members – from 40 a year to 600. While it declined to comment directly on the costs inflicted by the reaction to the BCA's actions, it is clear that a six-figure sum will be involved for the extra staffing costs alone, to which will have to be added the considerable costs of any misconduct hearings.
The complaints all stem from a regulatory quirk exposed by blogger Alan Henness, who noticed that the council's rules demand that chiropractors do not make claims that conflict with past rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority. The advertising watchdog had previously criticised a number of chiropractors for making claims that their procedures can treat a variety of conditions, ranging from learning difficulties to arthritis.
The policy was exploited by numerous campaigners, who collectively worked their way through the BCA's membership list, Googling each member, and cross-referencing any claims on their website against previous rulings by the advertising watchdog. In a matter of weeks, complaints against more than 600 chiropractors had been lodged.
To the likely embarrassment of the BCA, those being investigated include its own officers.
While professional associations are remaining silent on the issue, at least in public, leaked e-mails reveal the scale of the panic the campaign has caused within the industry. Last June, the McTimoney Chiropractic Association issued an extraordinary plea to its 800 members, responding to, "what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors":
"If you have a website, take it down NOW.
"REMOVE all the blue MCA [McTimoney Chiropractic Association] patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them. DO NOT USE them until further notice."
Privately, a number of chiropractors have expressed unhappiness at the way the BCA, General Chiropractic Council and other professional associations have carried themselves over the past year, and lay the blame for the crisis firmly at their doors. In communications with me they have said the organisations' attempts to "medicalise" a form of alternative medicine have backfired. One remarked: "I am sure when the dust settles the BCA will lose a lot of members [...] Suing Simon was worse than any Streisand effect and chiropractors know it and can do nothing about it."
Further criticism has been focused on the BCA's presentation of supporting data, in particular its claim that a "plethora" of evidence backs the effectiveness of chiropractic in treating various childhood illnesses. Last year, facing demands that the BCA engage in scientific debate over its position, the association released its "plethora" to the public.
The statement, supported by just 29 citations, was ripped apart by bloggers within 24 hours of publication, before being subjected to a further shredding in the British Medical Journal. It emerged that 10 of the papers cited had nothing to do with chiropractic treatment, and several weren't even studies. The remainder consisted of a small collection of poor-quality trials.
More seriously, the BCA misled the public with a misrepresentation of one paper, a Cochrane review looking at the effectiveness of various treatments for bed-wetting, claiming that the authors had simply concluded that, "there was weak evidence to support the use of [chiropractic]."
In fact the quote in full reads as follows:
"There was weak evidence to support the use of hypnosis, psychotherapy, acupuncture and chiropractic but it was provided in each case by single small trials, some of dubious methodological rigour."
Now even the General Chiropractic Council has disowned the claims of the BCA – the same claims that lie at the centre of its libel action against Simon Singh.
In a new report, it has attempted to clarify the assertions that chiropractors can and cannot make, backed up by a systematic review of the evidence. Notably, the report concludes that the evidence does not support claims that chiropractic treatment is effective for childhood colic, bed-wetting, ear infections or asthma, the very claims that Singh was sued for describing as "bogus".
Whatever the eventual outcome of the BCA's legal action against Singh – and I would urge you to support science writers like Simon by signing the online petition for libel reform – one thing is clear. In pursuing a popular writer through the courts, it has inflicted a huge financial burden not just on its own coffers, but on those of the entire industry.
It is a lesson that other professional associations would do well to learn from in the future."
Yes point taken! Excuse the levity but the parties should have more backbone and campaigners should lay off now their point has been made and hopefully taken.
I know hard working chiropractors will be appalled. The best practicioners are doing such good things for example for crash trauma and blast trauma invalids. Yes one or two individuals may be getting exceptional results but there could be all sorts of reasons for that and anything which cannot be replicated by lesser individuals should not be regarded as 'proven' and advertised as such. Out of this some thing good will come.
I for one hope the libel action will be dropped as soon as reason reasserts itself. There is a difference between ideology and legal evidence which the law mostly brings home in a devastating way to libel litigants who have lost sight of this. I observe that committees can be naively enthused about litigation and act in a way an individual would not.. (there is a good deal of £400 per hour 'sucess' fee driven law these days - what used to be called 'no foal no fee - which can sucker people into destructive litigation')
Ah thank goodness they already did on 15th April. No wonder Simon's smiling.