by     JOHN KAPP

March 3rd 2006

Draft pamphlet for patients (via doctors).
1.10.05 amended 17.1.06 and 3.3.06
For CAM sub group of Sussex Cancer Patients Forum, working in partnership with Jane McNevin and Anne Catt, patient information officers, Sussex Cancer Network, 36-38 Friars Walk, Lewes, BN7 2PB, written by John Kapp ( and incorporating comments by Dr Liz Archer and Dr David Kopsky

The aim of this pamphlet is to create a policy statement for Sussex Cancer Network to adopt, to comply with Government measure 11.13 ‘Provider organisations should ensure that patients have access to high quality information about complementary therapy services, and where they can be obtained.’


1 What is conventional therapy?
Conventional therapy is based on the materialist paradigm (underlying belief system, also known as reductionist and mechanist) that matter (the body) is the only reality, and the only effective, (evidence based) way of curing your disease or controlling your symptoms is by invasive interventions on your body by drugs, surgery or radiotherapy.

2 What is non-conventional therapy?
Non-conventional therapy is based on the holistic paradigm that you comprise body, mind and spirit. These have fallen apart, because of conflict as the result of your conditioning with negative beliefs, which are all in your mind, conscious or unconscious. These block the subtle energy of your life force, causing your dis-ease.

Non-conventional therapy is energy medicine (1) and is gentle, non-invasive interventions.on your bodymind. which help you to drop those beliefs, harmonise your parts and heal. They can be broadly categorised into touching, (eg massage) moving, (eg yoga) and listening (eg counseling) Common to them all is relaxation into an altered state of consciousness known as the meditative space beyond the mind. Latin for ‘heal’ is ‘medici’, from which are derived the words ‘medication’ (healing the body) and ‘meditation’ (healing the soul)

3 What is complementary therapy?
Complementary therapy is non-conventional therapy which complements conventional treatment when taken together with it. The intention is to increase your self-healing ability, boost your immune system. relieve your side effects and improve your quality of life. The complementary therapies commonly offered together with conventional therapy are acupuncture, aromatherapy, art therapy, counseling, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, massage, meditation, osteopathy, relaxation, reflexology, reiki, and shiatsu.

4 What is alternative therapy?
Alternative therapy is non-conventional therapy which stands alone as an alternative to conventional medicine, and is taken instead of it. All forms of complementary and alternative therapy can be used in either mode, ie with or without conventional medicine. Henceforward the term ‘complementary’ will therefore be used to include both modes, ie all non-conventional therapies. Alternative therapies commonly available are the above mentioned ones plus Alexander technique, astrology, bach flower, journey therapy, life coaching, nutrition, pilates, tai chi, and yoga.

5 What is the difference between conventional and complementary therapy?
Although dis-ease manifests in different parts of the body and the symptoms are very different, complementary therapy addresses the original cause. This is always the same (see para 2 above) so the following statements can be made:

  • Conventional treatment is disease-specific; whereas complementary therapy is not. Almost any complementary therapy can be used to help heal any dis-ease.
  • The type of complementary therapy (touching, moving or listening) are not mutually exclusive, but are often more effective if taken together in repeated sequence (eg movement followed by meditation)
  • Complementary therapy does not need to be individually prescribed for you, but is often more effective if you do it together with others in a group.
  • Whether or not you heal depends not so much on the skill of your therapist, but on your intention to change. You need to be truly willing to take responsibility for yourself, receptive to their suggestions, and total in the way you act on them. Then you will hear your inner voice, the penny will drop, and you will make lifestyle changes that allow yourself to heal. If not you will keep the benefit of having your dis-ease for which someone or something else is to blame.
  • Complementary therapy can help you to prevent yourself from falling ill, .or getting worse. If you are terminally ill, it can help you to prepare for death, so that you can die at peace.
  • Complementary therapy is a national resource which is a true health service, whereas the NHS is really a sickness service.

6 How does complementary therapy work?
Complementary therapists have more time than their conventional counterparts to provide that indefinable healing ingredient known by names, such as ’love’, ‘practitioner / patient relationship’, ‘bedside manner’, ‘human effect’, ‘belief ‘, ‘trust’, ‘placebo effect’. which enables your life energy to flow more freely. Their interventions take place in relaxing spaces that are more conducive to healing than surgeries and hospitals.

7 What evidence is there that complementary therapy works?
Complementary therapy is based on ancient systems of healing, such as Chinese, Ayurvedic and Shamanic, which have been healing people for thousands of years, whereas conventional medicine is only a century old. Psycho-neuro-immunology scans have shown that brain waves are affected, and healing neuropeptides are released by therapies such as accupuncture, healing,(2) meditation, (3)

Complementary therapy has high patient satisfaction, and it’s market is growing fast, despite playing uphill against a free NHS. Surveys show that three quarters of the population would choose complementary therapy if it was available on the NHS. (4) The World Health Organisation (5) and the British Medical Association (6) support wider use of it.

8 What is the price of complementary therapy?
Complementary therapy is gradually being integrated into the NHS, and is free for some patients in some places. Some GP practices offer free osteopathy, acupuncture, and homeopathy. Some hospitals and hospices offer aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki to palliative care patients, provided by volunteers or charities, free or for donations. Your GP can advise you about what is freely available for you and where. Otherwise you will have to pay for it yourself in the market at the going rate. If you regard this as an investment in your own health, it will help you to heal.

The cheapest complementary therapy is in groups, where a number of people share the therapist and venue. You can learn from each other, and benefit from the group energy. The cost per person is about £4-10 per hour (7) for yoga, pilates, tai chi, chi gung, five rhythms dance, meditation, nutrition, astrology, life coaching, NLP, journey work.

Individual sessions, one to one with a therapist cost about £20-50 per hour (7) for osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, shiatsu, massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, cranio-sacral therapy, nutrition, hypnotherapy, naturopathy, herbalism, astrology, life coaching, NLP, journey work.

9 Where can I get complementary therapy?
Everywhere, as there is a growing market in it, driven by increasing numbers of people who want to take control of their own health. There are many alternative therapy centres in every town, and many practitioners work from home. There are already more complementary practitioners than conventional ones. They can be found through advertisements, media, yellow pages, internet, like any other service.

10 What can protect me against complementary charlatans?
Osteopathy and chiropractic is now statutorily registered, and acupuncture is in process of so becoming. Most complementary therapists belong to a professional regulatory body which trains and qualifies them to high standards. You can access their lists of registered practitioners, and leaflets outlining their therapy.

Complementary interventions are comparatively safe because they are non-invasive. There have never been any recorded cases of practitioner induced death, and very few adverse reactions from them (eg infections from acupuncture needles). The need for clinical governance and professional indemnity insurance is therefore much less than with conventional medicine.

11 What sort of complementary therapy should I try?
Follow your intuition and try whatever you are attracted to. Groups are a good start in which you can hear other’s experience. It won’t do you any harm as the worst that can happen is nothing. You can stop at any time. If you are under your doctor, tell him, because mixing therapies in rare instances can cause side-effects, (such as taking St John’s Wort together with anti-depressants). However, you do not need his permission to try any therapy you like.

12 What is integrated healthcare?
Integrated healthcare is a harmonious marriage of both approaches to health, compared in the.table below:

13 Comparison of the approaches of conventional and complementary therapy




Paradigm (belief)

Materialist, reductionist, mechanist

Holistic – body, mind, spirit

Paradigm (belief)

Materialist, reductionist, mechanist

Holistic – body, mind, spirit


Body only



Left, rational, male, yang

Right, intuitive, female, yin


Paternalistic, head

Maternalistic, heart





Cure or suppression of symptoms

Healing – harmonizing bodymind





Invasion of your body

Time and Space to heal yourself





Enemies to be eradicated or suppressed

Friends to give you a wake-up call to change your lifestyle


Alien things (eg bacteria, cancer, virus) that have invaded you

Body and mind have fallen apart, blocking your life-energy


Eradicate alien

Become aware of why

Healing medium

Medication to heal the body

Meditation to heal the soul


Practitioner - them

Client - you

14 Further information

  • Complementary Healthcare: a guide for patients – Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health (available from, or tel 020 7619 6140)
  • The Cancer Directory – Dr Rosy Daniels (available from libraries / bookshops ISBN 0007154275)
  • ICON magazine tel 01280 821 211
  • Breast Cancer Care fact sheet – tel 020 7384 2984.
  • National Guidelines for the use of Complementary Therapies in Supportive and Palliative Care (available from or tel 020 7619 6140)
  • Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care – Macmillan Cancer Relief 0845 6016161
  • NHS Directory of Complementary and Alternative Practitioners –

15 References
1 The Complete Book of Energy Medicine by Dr Helen Dziemidko 1999
2 TV programme 24.and 31,1.06 on Alternative Therapies by Prof Kathy Sykes.(accupuncture producing brain activity, and healing producing dopiamine in a Parkinson disease patient)
3 Nitamo showed that meditation synchronises the brain waves of meditators up to 97%.
4 A healthy Partnership – Integrating Complementary healthcare into primary care by Anna Thompson for Foundation for Integrated Health 2005
5 see, who have published whole editions of BMJ on Complementary therapy
6 see
7 see

John Kapp 01273 417997

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