June Blog 2011

This month I am very happy to introduce some of you to Andy Roscoe as guess Blogger. To other of you, Andy will be no stranger as he has been a long standing member of the Helix House team. He has some important points to make about the way in which we are allowing the EU to use a sledge hammer to crack a nut!

Clive Lindley-Jones

Hello I am Andy Roscoe, trained in Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and Zero Balancing, and part of Helix House since 2003. As the guest blogger for this month’s issue, I would like to draw attention to the restrictions imposed upon practitioners of traditional medicine, and the many obstacles encountered. Particularly the European directive on Traditional Herbal remedies……

Acupuncture in the UK

Twelve years ago there was a Government move to create a statutory register for acupuncturists to protect standards and public safety (as currently exists for osteopaths and chiropractors). Sadly, no register has yet been established, nor is likely in the near future due to political and financial obstacles. Your only guarantee of proper training and high standards is to make sure your practitioner is a member of the British Acupuncture Council which regulates the profession.

Since 2010 there have been restrictions placed by the Advertising Standards Agency on how complementary therapists advertise their work. We cannot make any reference to conditions or symptoms unless it can be backed up by randomised controlled double blind trials. This means as an acupuncturist I can only claim to be able to treat ‘nausea and vomiting’, ‘dental pain’, ‘tension caused headaches’, and ‘short term relief for osteo-arthritic knee pain’. The rest of what we do is all anecdotal and un-provable!

If you look on acupuncture websites now you will find ‘I cannot give details of what I do, if you want to find out more please ring me’. Welcome back 1984.

The Threat to Traditional Herbal Medicine

One consequence of the absence of a statutory register is happening right now. As from the end of April 2011 it was no longer possible to buy pre-made herbal patent remedies (of Chinese and other origins) due to a European Union directive on Traditional Herbal Medical Products coming into force.

These herbal remedies are now considered as medical drugs and not food supplements. To make them ‘legal’ would be financially prohibitive. The directive also implies that the lack of statutory control over the distribution of these medicines is one of the reasons for the restriction.

Many of the Chinese remedies I prescribe are over 1000 years old. They are proven in one culture but not in another. Bizarrely you will still be able to get these remedies after April as long as they are in raw herb form and not pre-made pills. It is all contradictory, but the net effect is that easy access to herbal remedies will be removed.

We need a massive outcry against this. Together, our voices can press the EU Commission to amend the directive, push our national governments to refuse to apply its excessive standards, and support a legal case that is challenging this regressive regulation. Sign below, forward this to everyone, and let’s get to 1 million voices to save herbal medicine:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_herbal_medicine_ban/?vl
For more information on the directive please follow this link

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_herbal_response_to_concerns/?ps

Talking of drugs you can get easily … there has been a huge increase in the prescription of statins in recent years. A report in the Daily Telegraph in January 11 spoke of 3 million people taking this drug, or one in three  people over 40 whom they called the ‘worried well’. Statins are now a key part of the NHS strategy to control cholesterol levels in order to control future heart related illnesses.

The trouble is many people can’t tolerate this drug – a lot of my patients tell me it gives them muscle and joint pains and they feel shut down. An alternative strategy is to use a combination of exercise, diet and complementary therapies to keep the cholesterol levels under control.

Book of the Month

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures  by Anne Fadiman chronicles the struggles of a Hmong refugee family from Sainyabuli Province, Laos and their interactions with the health care system in Merced, California. This book explores the collision of two cultures which took place in a small county hospital in California in the 1980’s. It centres around the care of a Hmong child with epilepsy whose family had been allowed to emigrate to US from Laos after the Vietnam War. The child’s family knew only traditional, non-scientific ways of treating illness; the doctors had all the latest drug technology. The bewildering gulf between the two, as related by a journalist, is a heart-warming story.

Road works on Iffley Road from May 9th 2011

If you drive to Helix House for your appointments please be aware of this summer’s roadworks…..Drivers face a summer of gridlock as two major city roadwork schemes overlap. Six months of roadworks will start in April to remodel the Heyford Hill roundabout . Also, from May 9th 2011, 40 weeks of roadworks on Iffley Road will begin. The Heyford Hill work is to cut two new lanes through the centre of the congested junction, widen the eastbound section of the bypass, and improve slip roads to aid traffic flow. Temporary 30mph speed limits will be in place for more than 200 metres along all three roads leading to the roundabout, the A423, A3142 and A4074, from Monday, April 11. The measures could be in force for up to 18 months if the project overruns.The Iffley Road work will start on May 9, and see temporary traffic lights between The Plain and Henley Street.The road will be closed completely between The Plain and Circus Street for up to four weeks in August. All work is expected to finish by March 2012.

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