There is hard evidence for the efficacy of CAM, negating the NHS dogma of ‘no evidence’. It calls on conventional health practitioners to tell the truth when asked (eg say ‘I don’t know’) and try it for themselves. It calls on the government to allow doctors to suggest that patients try CAM without making them responsible for the outcome, and give patients choice by giving them a voucher which can be spent on CAM. This would make more cost-effective use of taxpayers money.
The essential difference
People go to practitioners to get out of the hell they are suffering. There are only two ways to change their consciousness, medication or meditation, both words coming from the same latin root, medici, to heal. The conventional route leads them downwards into drugs, dulling their feelings. The CAM route leads them upwards into self-responsibility, by getting them into a meditative state, clearing out the negativity in their unconscious mind so that their hell becomes their heaven.
Ask any conventional health practitioner about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and you will get the same on-message answer: ‘there is no evidence for efficacy in CAM’ This is dogma which wrongly rubbishes CAM. The message is hypocritical, implying that all conventional medicine is evidence based. A study published 6 years ago showed that only between 10 and 20% of decisions in conventional primary care are evidence based. (1)
The dogma normally goes unchallenged because CAM has no collective voice with which to contradict it. It probably originated from the drug companies, for whom CAM is their only competitor. The stakes are high, and they are losing the battle of ideas, as generally the media gives CAM a good press, and drugs a bad one, (side-effects, dependency, addiction). They are rightly worried as CAM is said to be the western world’s fastest growing industry as dissatisfaction with conventional medicine grows, particularly due to the adverse effects of drugs.
The battle for which is the best therapy is not fought on a level playing field, but distorted by the power struggle for taxpayers’ money. Conventional medicine gets a government subsidy of about £70bn pa, the cost of the NHS, whereas CAM gets practically nothing. The boundary between them is artificial, created by government decision on what therapies they allow to be funded. The NHS is a sickness service that relieves symptoms, whereas CAM is a health service, which empowers people to take responsibility for their own health.
When patients ask their GP (as they frequently do) ‘which therapy, conventional or CAM, would be best for them’, they deserve an honest answer. At present GPs are not allowed to say anything beyond the untruthful ‘no evidence’ dogma. If they break rank and suggest that a patient tries CAM, they risk being held professionally responsible for any adverse outcome, which could lead to them facing a disciplinary hearing of the General Medical Council, and be struck off the register, losing their livelihood. This creates an ‘iron curtain’ of which I have written elsewhere ‘Re-educating doctors about CAM’ (2)
Most GP’s patients present with ill-defined symptoms, or with chronic conditions. 30% complain of lack of energy. CAM can help many of these patients better and more cost-effectively than doctors can, which would improve outcomes and save taxpayers’ money. It is in therefore in society’s interest for the government to accelerate the process of recognition of CAM, (as they are doing for some therapies, such as osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy and acupuncture) They should fund more CAM, both by allowing GPs to refer their patients to CAM practitioners, (relaxing the rule that makes GPs responsible for adverse outcome) and by giving patients a voucher by which they could self-refer to either conventional or CAM practitioners.
What is ‘evidence base’?
The term has different definitions depending on the standpoint.. To drug company people, it means that a randomised control trial has been successfully conducted on the intervention. To those in marketing, it means that people buy it. To an individual, it means that it worked for him. To a scientist, it means that he can explain how it works in scientific terms. To a CAM therapist and a pragmatic doctor it doesn’t matter how it works, as long as the patient gets better. The evidence base from each standpoint in turn is as follows.
From the drug company’s standpoint, the evidence base of a drug is that it has been given to a significant number of patients, more than two out of three of whom have experienced the required beneficial outcome. Such double blind, randomised control trials are difficult and expensive to set up.. The drug companies have to do them on new drugs, as a condition of being awarded a license Comparatively few such trials have been done on CAM because their promoters seldom have the money to finance them. However, some that have been done have shown spectacular successes, such as distant healing, where people who were prayed for got better, statistically more than those who were not. (3)
From a marketing standpoint. If there really was no evidence for CAM, its practitioners would not be able to make a living, and the industry would decline. On the contrary, as mentioned above, CAM is growing fast, in spite of having to play uphill against its only competitor, the massively subsidised NHS, which is free at the point of use. What would the take up be for drugs if patients had to pay for them? Not much, judging by the number of uncashed prescriptions, and untaken tablets.
From the individual’s definition. Ultimately, the ‘truth’ is our own personal experience. CAM is growing because people are trying it, and find that it works. A tragedy of the iron curtain is that doctors feel inhibited from trying it for themselves, thereby denying themselves and their patients CAM’s healing benefits. My personal experience of CAM is given in appendix 1
From the CAM practitioner’s standpoint CAM practitioners tend to be doing it because they suffered a breakdown in their own health, discovered how to heal themselves and developed their technique to share it with others. Their evidence base, which was the motivation for their change of livelihood, is that they ‘know’ that it works from their own direct experience. They first felt it deeply in their own body, (cellular knowing) when they were healed of their problem. This was subsequently reinforced by witnessing its healing effect on their clients. This contrasts with belief learnt from books or other people which is solely in the head or mind, (borrowed knowing) This is subject to doubt, and hence held without conviction, as it is not one’s own experience, eg. the dogma which this article is addressing.
From the pragmatic doctor’s standpoint. One NHS doctor who ignored the dogma, and tried CAM for herself, Helen Dziemidko, wrote an excellent book about it from a medical standpoint, published in 1999, ‘The Complete book of Energy Medicine’ (4) She divides the CAM therapies into 14 categories, and describes 45 different CAM therapies in detail, indicating which is most appropriate for which medical condition. I have listed her categories and therapies in appendix 2
From the scientist’s standpoint. By definition, a scientist is sceptical of any intervention until he can explain how it works. The government is right in calling for ‘hard’ science to support taxpayers money to subsidise therapy in the NHS. Although science is moving very fast in this area, how people heal is not yet fully known, so both conventional and CAM are in the same difficulty. However, the government should treat CAM and conventional medicine even handedly, which has not been the case hitherto, as the Medicine Control Agency is biassed towards drugs.
There are hundreds of different CAM therapies which developed individually with little co-ordination between them. Most are based on long established traditions from the East. Few therapists, CAM or conventional, even try to articulate how their intervention works. I believe that the common basis of CAM is what has come to be known as energy medicine. It works by releasing your blocks and gets you into the meditative state, in which alpha and theta brain waves heal you, as follows.
A theory of energy medicine, synthesised from ‘facts’
a) Traditional Chinese medicine, thousands of years old, regards all dis-ease as blocked energy, and my own experience confirms this.. Acupuncture unblocks it, by inserting fine needles into certain points on the skin where the electrical resistance is different. Electric currents can then flow more freely into and out of the body, creating a healing effect. I believe that all dis-ease is blocked energy, and that there are many ways of unblocking it. The healing process is basically unblocking stuck energy, and this is what CAM does.
b) All living creatures, including people, are surrounded by an electromagnetic field, called an aura, or ‘subtle’ energy body, (4 ) which can be recorded on Kirlian photography. That of fireflies and glow worms happens to be at the frequency that we can see. Our subtle body enables us to connect electo-magnetically with others by proximity, enabling us to tune into and feel their subtle energy, unless our relationships have become closed off or shut down, as many people’s have.
c) The subtle energy body is composed of layers around the physical body. First the etheric body (from ‘ether’ the fifth element) which is the blueprint for health, and in which pain is felt, including that from phantom (missing) limbs.(5 ) Second the emotional body, wherein emotions occur. Third the mental body, wherein thoughts occur. Fourth the causal body, or higher self, where intuition, and sense of connection to divinity occurs.
d) The problem for scientists is how the energy field is generated. This is no problem for philosophy and religion, which has always believed in a ‘life force’ under various names such as ‘soul’, (individual) ‘spirit’ (collective) ‘chi’ (Chinese universal energy) ‘prana’ (Sanskrit life breath) noumen, (ancient greek and Kant ‘non-sensuous reality beyond substance’) diathete (Kapp (6) gods, God etc.
e) The main problem is location. The life force cannot be located to any place in the material world, so scientists throughout the ages have refused to believe that it exists. They are known as ‘materialists’, believing that matter is the only reality, and that anyone who believes in a non-material reality which cannot be located is suffering from delusion or illusion.
f) However, it is scientifically undeniable that the life force can be detected by its effect on matter, namely that it makes it live,.and gives it a continuous supply of subtle energy until it dies. So called ‘vitalists’ point out that it therefore must exist, and have to accept the uncomfortable implication that the life force can only be located in another, non-material world. Such a world has been ‘seen’ and described by seers, sensitives, and mystics with a ‘sixth’ sense, as if living creatures are like drops of water and waves on a journey to an ocean. However it is beyond our five physical senses to detect or observe it scientifically, (perhaps because the very act of attempted observation affects it)
g) Recent advances in quantum physics have confirmed the existence of a ‘zero point field’, described as ‘an ocean of microscopic vibrations which appear to connect everything in the universe like some invisible web’ (3) Furthermore physicists have also come up with an ‘emergent entanglement’ theory which seems to confirm Jung’s ideas of a collective unconscious. (7)
h) Psycho neuro immunology (PNI) shows that our unconscious mind prescribes and administers hundreds of drugs (such as adrenalin, cortisol, hormones), to our bodies all the time, according to its needs. Electro-encephalogram (EEG) studies show how brain wave patterns that are conducive to healing (alpha, theta ) can be induced in other people by healers, and self-induced by meditation (8)
i) Einstein showed that energy and matter are interchangeable, which is the basis of nuclear energy. It is therefore possible that the life force somehow *(see j below) is able to ‘condense’ non-material subtle energy into matter, namely the cells of our physical bodies. If this is possible, our thoughts and intentions can similarly condense subtle energy into the chemicals of our brains and endocrine system. This explains why we are so susceptible to our own, and other people’s thoughts.
j)My father postulated in 1951 that the life force performed this control by what he called a primary relay, which controlled the moment in time when a specific atom in a large organic molecule aquires the minimum energy to activate the vital process. (9 ) Life and thoughts originate in the non-material world, but cross into the material world, manifesting in our brain waves and body chemistry. Science now accepts the existence of other worlds, eg William Tiller (10)
k) Subtle energy bubbles out of us all the time, from birth to death. It is most observable in a two-year-old child (‘terrible twos’) when the super-ego has not yet developed its socialising control. It manifests as insatiable curiosity, so that the child is into everything. Emotions follow each other like a fast forwarding video. He has frequent need of subtle energy from his mother, expressed as a need of appreciation, particularly love expressed through hugging and attention,. The mother may feel either fulfilled, or drained of her subtle energy by the child.
l) Subtle energy comes from the cosmos or universe,, and varies all the time with the changing aspects (angular relationship) between the heavenly bodies, sun, moon and planets. A newborn baby gets its initial subtle energy charge with its first breath, (when it gets its own soul). The aspect at that moment determines its horoscope and its personality tendencies for the rest of its life. When, cosmic patterns return, with conjunctions and oppositions, (eg at full moon, and the 28 year Saturn return, and its 7 year squares, known as the ‘7 year itch’) we can expect turbulence in our subtle energies, flare-ups in our bodies and changes in our lives.
How thought blocks and unblocks energy
1 Illness, although manifesting in the body, is caused by blocks of repressed emotional tensions. They are the stress of disfunctional beliefs, often expressed as smouldering anger, but probably based on fear. As people often instinctively say, these blocks are ‘all in the mind’ and seem to be locked into our cellular memories. They are like a constant noise in the background, from which we cannot get away, which makes us ‘up tight’ and can drive us mad. We take refuge in any escape, (eg radio, TV, internet, talking, reading, clubbing, drugs, hobbies, sports, collecting) to which we tend to become addicted. These blocks can wreck our relationships, because we may hate ourselves because of them. If we do not love ourselves, how can we love anyone else?
2 Dis-ease is psychosomatic, (which literally means soul / body) because we are fighting ourselves. Our conscious mind is pulling in a different direction to our unconscious repressed emotions, which are the more powerful submerged 90 % part of Freud’s ‘iceberg’. If unrelieved, the stress of this block will make us eventually ‘fall apart’ and suffer a breakdown, first of our relationships, and then of our mental and physical health.
3 If the above applies to you, the only cure is to ‘pull yourself together’. No-one else can do it. You have to free the emotion through expressing it, which unblocks and restores the flow of subtle energy. The conflict is resolved, and you are healed, which means that you have becoming at peace within yourself. Your physical condition may or may not be cured, but if it is not, your mind will have come to terms with it. You may die, (as we all eventually have to) but you will die at peace.
4 All that a conventional therapist can usually do for you is to relieve your symptoms with drugs. This is what your conscious mind is asking for, so that you can carry on your life as before. However, such relief may be counterproductive to healing, as the pain of your symptoms is your incentive to change your beliefs and life. Conventional medicine therefore tends to keep you in your diseased state, which is good for trade, but not for you. This may explain why, despite a doubling of the budget, the nation keeps getting sicker, and the NHS is in an ever worsening crisis.
5 The aim of the CAM therapist is not to relieve your symptoms, but give you the space, time and support to take responsibility and heal yourself. The vital first step is to create a situation which allows the cause of your blocks to come into your consciousness.
6 The blocks probably originated in childhood, as a result of not being allowed to do what your body and soul wanted. They may also have been carried over from past lives. You had a good reason then for repressing them into your unconscious, so accessing them now will be difficult. You will have an investment (known as secondary gain) in keeping them hidden from yourself, unconsciously preferring to have the benefit of the disease rather than being healed. Sometimes people only really want to change when their lives have reached a nadia point, ie become so bad that the secondary gain is no longer worth having.
7 The root of the blocks is often fear of losing something, (eg love, job, security, relationship, health, life) which keeps you compulsively obsessed or addicted, and prevents you from changing. You are in a prison of your own making.
8 To allow the blocks to come into your consciousness, you will have to send the jailor (your super-ego) on holiday, ie suspend your judgement on yourself for a while. To do this you need to relax to the point of surrendering your conscious mind’s control, and accept yourself as you are. CAM gives you the time, empathy, and a huge range of techniques (see appendix 2) all of which help you to get into this meditative state. Most of them have a long documented history of efficacy in healing, being based on Eastern practices.
9 The CAM therapist’s system is also better set up than the NHS to get you well again. They see you in an alternative therapy centre or in the therapist’s home, which is a space of peace and normality, encouraging you to return to the joys of living. The subtle energy in hospital and doctor’s surgeries is the opposite, being hectic, and full of sickness. You have to pay about £30 per hour, but the money taken helps you to heal, as it is your sacrifice and investment in getting well. Patients tend to value the NHS by what they pay for it, as witnessed by the missed appointments and uncashed prescriptions
10 When the penny has dropped as to what is wrong, (the block that is imprisoning you) you can explore your options for freeing yourself (eg face your fear, drop your disfunctional belief, leave your job, improve your relationship etc,) with or without help from the therapist. You can think through the consequences, decide the best option, and implement the changes, which will then heal your disease.
11 Once you start on a healing path you will find that it is not a one-off event, but a process, like cleaning an old house that is full of junk and covered in layers of dust. You get rid of one lot, but then find another. If CAM therapy leads you to meditation, you will find that it is the ultimate self-healing method. You need the help of a meditation leader to learn the knack, after which it becomes a way of life in which you can keep on healing yourself, in a virtuous spiral (the better you get, the better you get) Your attitude changes, so that instead of seeing yourself as a victim, you are a beneficiary, and your hell becomes a heaven.
12 The knack of meditation is to master your mind with its fear and worry-inducing thoughts, so that you can switch it off at will, and get into the meditative state. You induce healing brain waves. (alpha and theta) which aid your brain to rebalance and re-reorganise its neural pathways to improve performance and heal any condition. (8) Meditation can be learned by following the instructions of Indian mystic Osho (1931-90) and doing his active meditations to CDs (11) which include catharsis, to release the above mentioned tensions (12)
Appendix 1 My personal experience of CAM.
In 1992, when I was 56, I suffered from back pain. I went to my GP, and was given the anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen. It was marvellous: my pain vanished, and I carried on as normal. However, a month later I tripped over and suffered a compression fracture of my lumbar vertibrae. A bone density scan showed that I was ostoeporotic, about 70% of normal.. The cause was muscle spasms in my back from an old injury, affecting the nerves to the stomach, resulting in poor digestion, and mal-absorbtion of calcium.
I was offered the conventional drugs (editronates), which were said to restore bone density by 1.7%pa. A CAM therapist offered to do better, so I accepted reflexology, back massage, vitamins and mineral supplements. My density improved 8% in the first year, and came back to normal in about 5 years.
After I lost Janet, after 37 years of happy marriage, I had psychotherapy and Osho meditation.therapy which has cured my hyperactivity and obsessions, (dominating others, hammering, fear of pain, sexual repressions) making me more contented, and easier to live with.
Appendix 2 CAM categories and therapies (using Dr Helen Dziemidko’s classification)
(ones that I have added are in brackets)
1 (Massage) aromatherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, Rolfing, (indian head massage)
2 (Touching) Reflexology, acupuncture, shiatsu, applied kinesiology, (colonic hydrotheraopy) (hopi ear candeling)
3 (Healing) Reiki, spiritual healing, therapeutic touch
4 (Group Practice) Yoga, Alexander technique, Tai Chi, Chi Gung, (Pilates)
5 (Dance) Five Rythms, Trance dance, Eurythmy
6 (Combination) Feldenkrais, biodynamic massage, zero balancing, (cranio-sacral)
7 (Breathing) Pranyama, rebirthing
8 (Footprint) homeopathy, bach flower, anthroposophy (Geopathic) dowsing, Fung Shui
10 (Senses) Colour therapy, sound therapy
11(Counselling) psycho-analysis, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) autogenic training, re-evaluation, shamanic healing (astrology)
(Journey therapy of Brandon Bayes) (nutrition)
12 (Thought) prayer, meditation
13 Talismans, crystal healing (La stone therapy)
14 Systems Ayurvedic medicine, naturopathy, herbalism, Chinese herbalism
1 Scarfield B ‘Primary Care: balancing health needs, services and technologies’ New York Oxford University Press 1998.
2 ‘Re-educating Doctors about CAM’ by John Kapp dated 15.6.04, manuscript submitted for publication
3 Distant Healing studies in USA quoted in chapter 10 of The Field by Lynne McTaggart, Harper Collins 2001
4 The Complete book of Energy Medicine by Dr Helen Dziemidko, Gaia Books, 1999
5 Energy Medicine by Donna Eden, published in UK by Judy Piatkus 1999.
6 Science versus Materialism, by Reginald O Kapp, published by Methuen 1940
7 ‘Emergent entanglement, love and being’ by Prof Michael Hyland, School of Health Psychology, University of Plymouth, article in Journal of Holistic Healthcare, vol 1 issue 2.8.04
‘A revolution in neuroscience: tuning the brain’ Article in Holistic Health No 79, Winterr 2003/4 by Bill Harris, with 20 references.
Mind Life and Body p 187, by Reginald O Kapp, published by Constable 1951 p 187
‘Quantum Bio-cosmology: the science of auras and chakras’ by Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton MBBS, published in Holistic Health No 79 Winter 2003/4
11 Dynamic meditation may be practiced to CDs at many places throughout the world, including Planet Janet, see osho.com , and planet-janet.com
12 From Medication to Meditation, Osho (see osho.com)
By John Kapp, a former engineer and politician, who nursed his first wife, Janet (1937-00) through conventional cancer therapy and CAM. He founded an alternative health centre in Hove in her memory, whose mission is ‘empowering to heal’ (see planet-janet.com), together with his new wife, Phoebe, who is a professional CAM practitioner. (astrologer and meditation leader) He offers to run courses on this subject for conventional health practitioners to help integrate medicine
email@example.com 01273 417997
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