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Conference Report: Integrative Oncology UK inaugural conference. Whole person care for better patient outcomes. 15th May 2021

The British Society for Integrative Oncology (BSIO) worked with professional conference organisers Progressive Communications to initiate the first Integrative Oncology UK conference. The virtual event took place on Saturday 15th May 2021, with more than 380 delegates attending, across a range of disciplines from an impressive 27 countries. The conference was aimed at healthcare professionals interested in evidence-based integrative approach to cancer care. Some of the delegates were new to this clinical field and a quarter of participants were working within the NHS. 

During the one-day live event, oncologists, integrative medicine doctors, GPs, researchers, clinical nurse specialists, nutritionists, mind-body experts, and people living with a cancer diagnosis, shared their knowledge on the science and evidence base underpinning lifestyle and complementary approaches in cancer care, to optimise quality of life and clinical outcomes. 

The BSIO conference committee brought together medical and non-medical experts in their fields. The event had an impressive line-up of eighteen speakers presenting the evidence for incorporating lifestyle and complementary approaches into pre-treatment phases, during active cancer treatment and in advanced cancer. 

BSIO Conference Committee: 

Dr Catherine Zollman, conference chair, GP, medical lead of Penny Brohn UK cancer charity, clinical lead for Personalised Care and Support, SWAG NHS Cancer Alliance and fellow in Integrative Medicine from the University of Arizona

Dr Penny Kechagioglou MBBS, MRCP, FRCReq, MPH, MBA, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Group Clinical Director for Surgery and Emergency Medicine, at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire

Prof Robert Thomas, MRCP (UK), MD, FRCR, Consultant Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s and Bedford Hospitals, a visiting Professor at Cranfield University and a clinical teacher at Cambridge University

Dr Nina Fuller-Shavel, MB BChir MA Hons DipIM PG Cert IFMCP mBANT, Integrative Medicine doctor, scientist and educator, Vice Chair of BSIO, Director of Synthesis Clinic, Fellow of the College of Medicine, United Kingdom

Dr Carol Granger, Registered nutrition practitioner and microbiologist with a particular interest in the human microbiome. Co-chair and trustee of the Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM)

Dr Caroline Hoffman, Clinical and Research Director, Breast Cancer Haven. 

If you missed the live event and you would like to catch up at your leisure, the recordings are available to purchase at: www.IntegrativeOncologyUK.com/recordings

Request for collaborators on Biofield research

In this month’s blog, pharmacist and RCCM member Seema Bhattessa discusses her research interest in the electromagnetic and energetic field around the human body.

My background is Pharmacy, Energy Medicine and Holistic Health. My research interest is on how prescribed medication influences the human Biofield (Meridian, Chakra and Auric fields) where a collaborative effort would be necessary to make any headway in this research.

Why I think this research is necessary:

There is evidence that the human Biofield exists and instruments available to measure them. The body has a physical, biochemical system and an energetic system. Drug development and clinical trials did not include participants’ energetic profile or considered effects on the human Biofield system. There is anecdotal evidence that prescribed drugs influence the Biofield and my own experience working with clients who were taking prescribed medication. Traditional and holistic forms of health and self-care are centred around the concept of the Bio-energetic system. They have continued to gain more popularity in the Pre-Covid years, mostly supporting existing conventional healthcare and treatment. During the pandemic and Post-Covid era, this trend is expected to boom as it addresses multiple issues-particularly mental and emotional health. However, conventional drugs are here to stay, and a “Hybrid”  form of healthcare will always exist with little or no research on how they may interact or influence one another. One of the most important factors in non-compliance of therapeutic agents is adverse drug reactions or side effects. Many require hospitalization, from a single dose or prolonged administration of a drug are often treated with additional medication to
counteract these unwanted effects to “Poly-Pharmacy”. This ongoing cycle creates more health problems for individuals and is an economic burden on the NHS. Energy Medicine may offer non-invasive alternatives to help support the body’s systems and organs when medication is necessary and save money on the NHS. Response to the public interest. For the growing population that participates in holistic and traditional health practices regularly support this research area, and as healthcare professionals, we should respond!

My article “Pharmaceutical Drugs and the Human Energy System (Biofield)” , a call to action for collaboration, was published in the Global Journal of Medical Research.

Please contact:

Seema Bhattessa B.Pharm; sb.3research@gmail.com

+44 (0)7372287974

https://www.hybridhealthandwellnesssupport.co.uk/

Why did we become a corporate member of RCCM?

I am in the interesting position of looking at RCCM from two perspectives, both as a trustee and also as a corporate member, I am the Chair of BAThH and as such, I could see the benefits available to us, so we joined in the vision that RCCM has for the future of complementary medicine in general healthcare.  

At BAThH  we represent the interests of professional hypnotherapists around the UK, and we felt that an important way to do this was to get involved with RCCM as a corporate member. We now have rigorous training, a strong code of ethics, with ongoing CPD management and we are involved with organisations that are both collating and leading research in hypnotherapy, so we feel it is time to raise awareness and take that to a higher level. Hypnotherapy can often fall between talking therapies and complementary therapies and so drop off the main agenda, it is time that we change this. 

Research is the way to have complementary therapy recognised and integrated into the NHS, providing greater patient choice and maybe even sometimes cutting costs. We want to make sure the voice of hypnotherapy is heard and plays its part in this move towards greater integration, we know the best way to present our case both preparing research and presenting it to NICE is by working with RCCM. I am really looking forward to the free training we can attend on how to develop research strategy and support research among members, this is just the kind of guidance that we need right now. As well as this kind of guidance and support, we get to work with an organisation that can provide us with an interface with NICE, the ASA and lobbying in parliament through the IHC parliamentary group. 

Both BAThH and RCCM are supporters of the European Congress for Integrated Medicine conference to be held in London later this year, the fact that we did this independently shows the harmony of our intent. This is a forum to facilitate the advancement of the integration of conventional and complementary healthcare to improve overall healthcare. This conference will bring together medical professionals, researchers, scientists, therapists and health politicians to help navigate the changes that will be necessary, we are delighted to be joining together in this venture.  At BAThH we want hypnotherapy to be a part of this dialogue and I want to present our case in the most professional way. We are a much stronger voice for complementary medicine and its integration into mainstream healthcare if we work together and it increases both our visibility and credibility to join with RCCM to this end. We are delighted to be on board, and I am actively encouraging other hypnotherapy organisations to join us too: https://www.rccm.org.uk/register/corporate-member/ 

Zetta Thomelin

Could you be our new trustee?

We are sadly saying farewell to our trustee Simon Brasch this month, who is moving on to another charity. We are very grateful to Simon for all his support of RCCM over the years and wish him all the best.

RCCM is therefore now looking for a new trustee with IT/website expertise to assist with our online activities. This is a supportive role, working with and advising our administrator.

Applicants will ideally have the following qualities:

  • Experience of Website Management
  • Experience of Social Media Strategy and understanding how we use it effectively – Create KPI’s and outcomes
  • Information Management skills – organise and store all files on secure cloud based platforms
  • Knowledge of WordPress platform
  • Ability to analyse website analytics / Google Analytics and share insights and suggestions on future developments
  • Good understanding of GDPR
  • Good project management skills and experience
  • Track record of working with external consultants and organisations, including or web hosting company
  • Eligible to act as a trustee according to Charity Commission criteria

If you are interested, please get in touch for more information or an informal chat: info@rccm.org.uk or on twitter @TheRCCM

Complexities of acupuncture for heel pain

RCCM member  Richard Clark talks about his interest in acupuncture and heel pain:

“When I first set out to look up the evidence base for using acupuncture for plantar heel pain (PHP) I thought it would be simple and quick.  Little did I know!

One SR[1] and one CIS[2] later, I realised the extent, complexity and contradictory nature of this topic.  Frustrated by wordcount limitations, I set out to explore the ideas further and have just published my reflections[3].  I considered all the evidence I could find, set against relevant theoretical contributions.  I analysed problems and synthesised a set of over 20 research recommendations, which are presented in chapter 8.  These are at three levels:   

  • General pointers – e.g. Context bias should be explicitly recognised as a limitation of formal studies, which should aim for ‘ecological validity’
  • Broad questions – e.g.  How do practitioners think?  How is this influenced by different contexts?  How can we use the Patchwork model to elucidate this?
  • Specific questions – e.g. How does use of the single ashi point compare with the ‘circle the dragon’ technique … in terms of analgesia and long-term healing?

As a lone wolf, prowling the shoreline between the mainland of orthodoxy and the ocean of alternatives, I tow no party line.  I questioned assumptions, revealing challenges to any clinicians or researchers who might be set in their ways.  For example, some see heel pain as a Kidney problem, because heel pain was thought due to bony heel spurs and ‘Kidney rules bone’ but now we know most patients don’t have spurs, so is it time to challenge the hegemony of KI3 as first choice for treatment?  There are so many alternatives!

Similarly, some dry-needlers look no further than the calf for trigger points; they may be surprised to find other myofascial therapists treating PHP from the neck.

But the issues are much larger than which point to use.  I have articulated an integrative, exploratory approach which I call ‘Refractive practice’ that offers a framework within which to construct radically different approaches to practice and research, not just for heel pain but for acupuncture in general.  And there is more – the Patchwork model (from our CIS) combined with a feminist analysis, led me to a radically new perspective on the field of research as a whole, seeing it as a membrane whose convolutions distort the very nature of the truths we co-create.  

I am hoping this model will contribute new approaches to the challenges we face.  This is where you come in – I have set up a discussion forum[4] and I look forward to seeing you there” 

Richard Clark

@AcuHeel

  1. Clark R and Tighe M. The effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain: a systematic review. Acupunct Med 2012; 30: 298-306. DOI: 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010183.
  2. Clark MT, Clark RJ, Toohey S, et al. Rationales and treatment approaches underpinning the use of acupuncture and related techniques for plantar heel pain: a critical interpretive synthesis. Acupunct Med 2017; 35: 9-16. DOI: 10.1136/acupmed-2015-011042.
  3. Clark RJ. Advances in acupuncture for heel pain: towards integrative practice and research. Birmingham, UK: Independent, 2020.
  4. https://PodAc.info

Fascia Focused Manual Therapy Interventions-Proposed Treatment for Post-COVID Syndrome

RCCM member John Sharkey provides a comment concerning the paper entitled Fascia Focused Manual Therapy Interventions-Proposed Treatment for Post-COVID Syndrome”.

Clinical anatomists are trained in the management of human tissues as they are involved in cadaveric tissue donation. The role of the anatomist involves screening donations for communicable or transmissible infection both bacterial and/or viral. Taking tissues from cadavers for histological investigations includes fluids, organs, tissue samples and human tissue for research and the training of students and pathology residents (tissues, organs) so all human tissue must be virus and bacteria free. As a Clinical Anatomist and manual therapist I was keenly aware of the serious nature of the so-called ‘novel virus’ identified as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus [SARS-CoV-2] and the implication of possible long-term effects, post recovery. At this time researchers are more informed regarding COVID-19 as the story concerning this virus unfolds with new facts emerging fortnightly. When I completed and published my research there were 57 million confirmed cases worldwide. Today that number exceeds 100 million people with 55.2 million people who have recovered. It is the people that have recovered that my research focused on as a significant number of those people are reporting long-term effects including, but not limited to, extreme fatigue, joint soreness, muscle stiffness and painful movement, all issues that can be effectively dealt with by a complementary medical professional with the appropriate fascia focused training. This will reduce the stress and intensity on the National Health Service generally and accident and emergency departments specifically as Long-COVID or Post-COVID-19 patients are destined to increase in number within all communities creating the real potential of overrunning the current medical healthcare system.

John Sharkey MSc

john.sharkey@ntc.ie

Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Clinical Sciences,
University of Chester/NTC,
15-16aSt Joseph’s Parade
Dorset St
DO7 FR6C
Dublin,
Ireland