I grew up in a household where holistic health was a way of life. Eileen Stevens my mother was part of a Food Reform Group, a now defunct organisation that thrived during World War 2 and campaigned that natural food should be eaten in the season in which it is grown to promote a healthier body. In my opinion, it should be revived since it makes a lot of sense.
As a family, we did try conventional remedies but they were not always that helpful. I can remember when I developed a really nasty sore on my back after spending some time playing on a sandy beach. It was infected and weeping so my mother took me to the doctor who prescribed a topical medication. Which had no effect so we went to see a naturopath who prepared a remedy with blood-cleansing herbs. A few days later I was completely clear.
As I grew up, I realised that alternative healing and holistic health had a vital role to play in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Later I was lucky enough to train with John Melrose, one of the first naturopaths to practice in the UK who was also an osteopath and herbalist. His first patient was a film star – the American actor and producer Alan Ladd who was the leading man of his day, who needed help to continue filming in the UK due to suffering from exhaustion. The benefits of alternative medicine have become ever more widely embraced by a growing number of people, despite conventional medicine being free at the point of use.
During the 1990s, I studied chiropractic at the McTimoney Corley College of chiropractic in Oxford. The founder of the college Hugh Corley was another remarkable man, it was due to his insight and guidance that I was more able to fully understand the relationship between structure in the human body and its function. In time, I developed my own technique known as Chirokinetic therapy (CKT), by combining chiropractic philosophy with a simplified form of kinesiology and based on naturopathic principles. As CKT focuses to a major degree on the immune system, it has shown to be remarkably effective in treating allergies. One of the first allergy sufferers treated using this system was a 5-year-old girl who was anaphylactic to peanuts, having experienced an allergic reaction at two years of age. Sophie is now a fine healthy woman in her twenties and is still allergy free, as are numerous other allergy sufferers who have benefited from this treatment.
Many of the patients who come to me have been doing so for years, including a 94-year-old who I see every few weeks. She says that the treatment keeps her agile and mobile.
Spanning 50 years in the holistic health care world, I have seen a significant shift in attitude towards a more natural approach. While the public demand has risen exponentially, there seems to be a concerted campaign to shut down alternatives in favour of medicalised care. I am talking about the demand for gold standard clinical evidence for treatments that are non-invasive and do no harm. The outcry over homeopathy is a case in point. On the one hand, those who are anti say that it is nothing but water in a little bottle is inert and has no effect. On the other hand, they say it may be dangerous, surely it cannot be both non-effective and dangerous at the same time.
Ayurveda and Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years but traditional herbal medicine now needs to pass stringent controls that dictate precise formulas and pharma – style safety trials – which means the remedies could be off the shelves in the UK. Doesn’t the evidence of 1000s of years of use count for anything?
Doctors talk about integrated health but continue to focus on drugs for symptoms, many of which despite safety trials have to be withdrawn due to serious side effects. What is required for the optimum benefit for those seeking help is to also focus on nutritional support and lifestyle changes to get to the heart of the problem.
I am sad to say that we have gone backwards, not forwards when it comes to embracing complementary medicine.
David Stevens. Visit www.vitalbodyhealth.com for further information plus patients comments on YouTube.