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Why strategy and why now? A review on my participation in the RCCM seminar held on 21st October 2021

When I received the invitation to participate in RCCM seminar on strategy from our Chair I remember accepting immediately. The event was scheduled a few months ahead, and it felt like I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for years! When we hear words like ‘strategy’ or ‘research’ usually people think of businesses, business plans, money or the cold scientific world out there. As therapists in complementary therapies these terms are just naturally not the first ones that come to mind. We do what we do primarily because we have established long ago – for many of us since we were very young- that it is our call, our vocation ‘to help others’ in an experiential way. So, to think ‘strategy’ ‘research’ and moreover to acknowledge their value and significance when your inner belief system tells you something else will most probably give birth to cognitive dissonance and this is not easy to live with.

One of the most valuable things that I took away from the seminar was that having a strategy and developing a research strategy within our organisations and practices does not take away that individuality or dilute the way we do things, but on the contrary will give the complementary therapies the opportunity to align their extraordinary contributions to human wellbeing with the bigger body of traditional medicine and finally take its well-deserved place on the national therapeutic stage.

This stage is very large, and it can feel discouraging and daunting having to compete with all the other established therapies backed by decades of solid evidence and a national health system, but the changes we have witnessed in the last couple of years and especially since the pandemic, showed us that it is not about competing with the ‘Other’. We live in times we can easily call ‘emergency times’ yet, inside emergency there is the word ‘emerge’, coming out of danger into opportunity and working alongside each other, enriching our clients’ experience and at the same time disseminating our vision and potency in a clear, convincing and evidenced way.

Why strategy and why research strategy? In simple words because it is the fastest and most reliable way, not only to create change, because change is created with every single person we help through our work, but to affect change at a macrolevel, beyond the influence we can have on our families, friends, peers, and clients. Being influential at a macrolevel means reaching those organisations and policy makers who have the power of translating visions and research into practices accepted and implemented nationally. Why now? There have never been more propitious and conducive to change times as the ones we live in now, because there has never been a greater need for science to hold hands with her sister – complementary therapy – and balance the load of work to be carried together. For this to happen naturally and successfully, applying the principles of a good research strategy also means taking the path that was most travelled before us and that will give us a voice and a seat at the decisions table.

Mia Pal – BAThH

Long Covid Bowen study

Bowen Therapy Professional Association members Dianne Bradshaw and Jo Wortley have put together a study to look at Bowen therapy for long Covid. The attached paper gives all the details and they have a facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/covidbowenstudy.  They are hoping to have some results available soon, which we will update here. long-covid-btpa-article

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