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Challenges for Doctors

One of the long-term hopes of Shared Care is to unite the complementary disciplines with mainstream medicine. This requires a willingness on the part of both types of practitioner to recognise the worth of each other's value system and techniques. It is easier to do this when the therapies have a similar world view, such as ordinary and herbal medicine, less easy in the case of conventional medicine and acupuncture, and even less so with mainstream medicine and reiki.

We do, however, have fundamental and similar bases underlying our disciplines whatever those disciplines may be.

Firstly, we are all dedicated to helping our patients; secondly we all have satisfied patients (or no one would come and see us), and thirdly we all enjoy our patients' trust (again without that we would starve from lack of work and income).

There are many areas in therapies of all sorts where the evidence base is lacking and mainstream medicine cannot put its hand on its heart and say that everything it does can be backed up by appropriate evidence. We still do things because we always have and tend to overvalue the pharmacological intervention against the personal touch. To quote (and probably misquote) the oft-mentioned 'bon mot' from Michael Balint, "the most important thing a doctor prescribes is himself". It ill behoves us to ignore the power of the placebo effect, for that may be the power behind some of the therapies which seem especially opaque to us.

Does it really matter what our patients do as long as they feel better about themselves and their lives? Can we really say that a treatment did them no good when they tell us that it did?

Please look at the pages of Shared Care with an open mind and judge the evidence as it is presented. We hope you will consider a complementary therapy for your patient sooner rather than later in your therapeutic protocol.

Better yet, offer a complementary therapy yourself.


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