Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Lets get a few things clear, right away.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine also called CAM - doesnt really exist.
Take supplements. Some high street supplements are the synthetic copies of natural compounds. Worse, they are not always even complete copies. So vitamin E may contain only one of the 8 forms it is naturally available in; beta-carotene just one of two; and synthetic vitamin C has none of the co-factors that can help it deliver in tests against orange juice synthetic vitamin C failed miserably.
I liken all three as being similar to fake Thai Gucci handbags. Are you really surprised when the handle falls off?
Do we need legislation and an approval system for these fakes and copies? Of course. But we actually have one at the moment (we are halfway through the Codex process, which will bring in legislation everywhere if certain forces have their way) and it doesnt work.
The copies are available in your high street right now, while the natural compounds which were their blueprint face bans!
This, of course is the very essence of modern politics. Do the opposite of what is sensible. One Professor in the UK only recently was on the front page of the Daily Express warning that these fakes did no good and might even do harm.
Lets look at another example. Vitamin D is made by the photosynthetic action of sunlight on the cholesterol layers below your skin. Harvard Medical school have experts on this vitamin and have been pointing to lowered cancer rates in the US sunbelt. One Professor even claimed 25 per cent less women would die from breast cancer if they took adequate daily levels.
Do we heed this? No. Loopy Health authorities and cancer charities warn us to stay out of the sun, while others tell us to take statins and reduce our cholesterol levels. After sunshine, the next source (and it is minor) is in fish oils. So you can supplement with natural D3 from fish oil. But just as the evidence for vitamin D is mounting, others are pooh-poohing it.
But wait! A drugs company in California have made a concentrated synthetic form of vitamin D, put it into clinical trials and are claiming its action against cancer is remarkable. Presumably there is no chance that this copy of the real thing might do you harm. I guess someone has checked.
Calling supplements CAM is an attempt to legislate vitamins even natural compounds and herbs that have been around for centuries off the market place. Produce fakes, they wont work and we can then ban them completely. Meanwhile synthetic copies of hormones (what else is HRT?) are given out to 50 something women like smarties, even though with HRT the side effects have been fully quantified. Women actually die from taking HRT. I always felt death was a level up from might do you harm, didnt you?
Herbs have been around and in use for centuries. In America they are classified differently and have no heritage history of effectiveness. Instead of trying to legislate against the use of herbs, why dont we try to learn why the herb feverview kills leukaemia cells and progress the tradition of natural healing?
Next we have complementary therapies. Should we regulate therapists? Of course. I want to know that anyone about to stick pins in me has been properly trained and has passed an exam or two.
Should we regulate the therapy and expect evidence that it works? Firstly, there is quite a lot of research now, including clinical trials on yoga, meditation, acupuncture and so on. But what of Indian Head Massage or Hands on Healing? Mumbo jumbo say the quackbusters its all in the mind. Actually it seems to me that modern medicine has been particularly useless at trying to find how your mental state can affect your health and even aid your healing. Placebo effect? Who cares?! If aromatherapy massages help a breast cancer patient relax, feel happy and even (perish the thought) live longer, then in my book thats great.
So beware experts talking CAM, especially with vested interests and large corporations lurking in the background. There are people who want to legislate everything except drugs and radiotherapy out of existence when it comes to cancer. And calling vitamin K a CAM is the start.