For the vast majority of the time, we read about the successes of complementary medicine and the benefits that can be achieved.
This can occur where conventional treatments have provided limited improvement in a condition. However, unfortunately nothing is perfect in this world and occasionally disturbing reports emerge indicating that a CAM practitioner has suggested a patient cease taking prescribed medicines or treatment courses and follow a complementary regime. As the chair of a complementary organisation, please allow me to offer you some very sound advice: if a complementary practitioner ever suggests they know the cause of your problem or that you should interfere with treatment prescribed by a doctor then avoid further contact with them as they are working outside the standards any responsible CAM body would insist upon. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; CAM is no substitute for conventional medicine and no CAM practitioner has the skill or authority to diagnose or prescribe. The only exceptions are alternative practitioners controlled by statutory regulation such as osteopaths and chiropractics. However, whatever you do or don’t know about their training, decide they are definitely not for you if they suggest any of the above. Finally, as you leave, ask where they were trained and report their action to the association in question.
Terry Cullen is the chairman of the British Complementary Medicine Association. For more info go to bcma.co.uk.
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