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November sees the Scottish Alternative Med i cine and Natural Living Exhibition come to Glasgow? Sally Kinnes takes a look at alternative ways to good health

lfthere is an infinite demand for health care from the NHS, there is perhaps an infinite expectation that we will get better as a result of the treatment. With bigger advances being made in medicine all the time, bigger promises are being made, releasing a growing number of patients who want that treatment and expect success from it. The GP expects, and we expect from the GP, at least a prescription, and probably a cure. It all adds up to an unfair and unrealistic burden on general practitioners, brought about in part perhaps, because the service is virtually free.

This at least is the view ofone practitioner who works outside conventional medicine, Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott, a homoeopath and acupuncturist working in Edinburgh. He cites GPs who began in their practice determined not to unnecessarily prescribe drugs but eventually gave in under pressure from the patient who expects, or wants, to be given them and is not to be ‘fobbed off’ with recommendations ofchanges to lifestyle, exercise or diet, however

. sound the advice.

Jonathan CIogstoun-Willmott is one of the speakers at the Scottish Alternative Medicine and Natural Living Exhibition in Glasgow (1—2 Nov) and the speakers include a wide range of practitioners working in alternative or ‘complementary’ medicine.

There are two reasons for looking at their work. Firstly it is the first exhibition of its kind in Scotland; secondly there is an increasing demand for alternative forms of medical treatment.

In 1984 a poll in Scotland found more than one in five had tried some form of complementary medicine. In 1986 Which? magazine conducted a survey amongst its members and found 81% of those questioned were

dissatisfied with the conventional treatment they had received. One in seven said they had used a form of complentary medicine within the previous 12 months. There is too, an interest in the medical profession, with‘GPs making referrals to complementary practitioners and the use of acupuncture by conventional doctors. In a survey of 145 GPs in Avon in 1985, one third claimed to have had some training in at least one form of complementary medicine. This does not scientifically prove that complementary medicine is successful, (although more than three quarters in the Which? survey claimed to have been cured or improved) but it does show a significant interest.

Pain is the condition for which alternative medicine is most commonly sought but coming between the pain and the patient there are a vast range oftreatments even within complementary medicine. They may have a common approach in using an alternative to a chemical or mechanical means to get the body to make changes to itself, but the means of diagnosis and of treatment differ widely. Complementary medicine includes manipulation (osteopathy, chiropractice) , herbalism, healing, hypnosis, acupuncture, diagnosis by use of the pendulum and homoeopathy, the only form of complementary medicine generally available on the NHS. At the five national homoeopathic hospitals in the country all the doctors are qualified in both homeopathy and conventional medicine, but a complementary practitioner may be totally untrained, although legally allowed to practise. Nor are there agreed national standards for training and eligibility to practise.

Matthew Manning who works as a healer in Bury St Edmunds is untrained in conventional medicine

‘IfI was I probably couldn’t do it’ and avoids learning about it. He has no explanation for his ability which was found to ‘heal’ cervical cancer cells which were being grown in plastic flasks at an American university by accelerating their death rate. He successfully increased the death rate, by as much as 1200% , from a distance of six feet and subsequently from the next room, and later experiments with cancer cells in a special Faraday cage proved that the unexplained results had

nothing to do with radio waves, magnetism or electricity. For someone who found as a child he could influence electrical equipment and found extraordinary things happened around him with objects flying about the room, he is remarkably down to earth. What he does say is that it is a gift ‘like a musical gift or being good at football. And like being musical it is something which everybody has got.’ He very firmly doesn’t believe that it is a sixth sense.

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The List 31 Oct 13 Nov 39