GP practice of the future

Dr Michael Dixon has been appointed by King Charles as Head of the Royal Medical Household.  The usual suspects among the media are deriding the appointment as if King Charles cannot choose his own physician. But he Dr Michael Dixon is a well respected medical doctor who also believes in complementary therapies. According to the Guardian Buckingham Palace responded with the following statement: “his position is that complementary therapies can sit alongside conventional treatments, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence based”.

When waiting lists are high for simple ailments, the publ;ic has the right to try therapies that often arfe successful and apparently their popularity is growing all the time. Below is an article previously published on Healthy Soul.

Ever wished you could go to your GP and be offered acupuncture, homeopathy or herbal medicine as an alternative to prescription drugs? The people of Cullompton, Devon have this choice at the College Surgery.

Three quarters of the British public would like to see complementary therapies available on the NHS according to a poll commissioned by the former Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health. It also claimed that 50 per cent of GP’s practices provide access to complementary medicine, although in truth this is more than likely to be osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture. The chances of getting massage or reflexology on the NHS are still slim.

Not for patients of the GP practice in Cullompton where Dr Michael Dixon has introduced over 20 complementary therapists alongside the normal GP services that would be expected anywhere. Patients have to pay for therapies such as healing, massage, acupuncture, or herbal medicine but at a reduced fee. The practice has its own organic and herb gardens and is next to a Boots store that stocks many of the remedies.

Dr Dixon wrote recently that the current approach to medicine is not patient-centred and takes little account to the patient’s background, culture and health belief. He says, ‘The integrated vision of general practice: a vision that is perceptive enough to acknowledge that health and wellbeing (i.e. the harmonisation of the body, mind and soul) transcends provenance by randomised control trial methodologies only.’

He favours ‘one that offers a wider choice of safe and effective therapies, while ensuring that patients do not turn their back on proven conventional medicine’.

What particularly pleases Dr Dixon is that he can provide solutions for patients that conventional medicine has little answers for. ‘I got into the integrated approach for purely selfish reasons. I used to dread appointments with patients with conditions from back pain to allergies, where modern medicine has little to offer. Now I’m able to steer people towards approaches that help them to get better.’

Anyone who pays for complementary therapies would love to see an integrated approach such as this which takes account of them as a person, rather than the doctor using a computer program to match your symptoms up to drugs. Dr Dixon hopes that his model of an integrated practice will ‘be of use to GPs and patients struggling towards a wider vision of what is possible when the soul is returned to medicine’.

Bowen for Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls - Men vs Wild with Will Ferrell
Bear Grylls – Men vs Wild with Will Ferrell

Intrepid adventurer Bear Grylls, currently starring in Mission Survive, has a rather surprising ally in his efforts to stay at peak physical performance – the gentle complementary therapy called the Bowen Technique.

Bowen Therapy is an alternative form of massage therapy that uses gentle touches to encourage the body to actively engage its own healing ability. The third International Bowen Therapy Week this month coincides with the 100th birthday of  the late Tom Bowen, the Australian who  founded the therapy. Other celebrities who favour Bowen are Kylie Minogue, Elle Macpherson and James Ellison.

Bear is Channel 4’s ‘Born Survivor’ who is dropped into hostile locations and has to make his own way back to civilisation. His everyday life consists of jumping out of planes, diving into icy water, walking for days through the desert and climbing mountains.

Whenever he returns from his exploits in hostile environments around the world, Bear has regular treatments with Sussex based Bowen therapist Sarah Yearsley, and now regards these as an essential part of his preparation.

Bowen Therapy involves the use of thumbs and fingers, with gentle rolling movements over muscles and tendons at precise points. The process releases energy, sending impulses to the brain to trigger the body’s own healing systems. It is particularly effective in correcting muscular and skeletal imbalances.

What can appear quite strange is that the practitioner leaves the room after each series of movements, but this is to allow the body to initiate its healing process.  Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise and make the changes it requires.  The Bowen Technique is a natural, non-invasive therapy with a very broad spectrum of application including chronic back pain, frozen shoulder, sports injuries, whiplash, migraine and asthma. It is suitable for all age groups.

Bear Grylls says, ‘Bowen has helped keep my body together despite the continual bashing it takes.  ‘It’s a vital support in putting right a whole range of new aches and pains, making sure that old injuries don’t cause me problems, and helping me fight stress and fatigue.’

The specific symptoms Sarah has helped Bear to overcome include a rotated pelvis, tight and shallow breathing, a strained calf muscle, extreme exhaustion and stress, and a toe injury. ‘Bear provides a perfect illustration of the amazing versatility of Bowen,’ she comments, ‘It helps him across a full range of symptoms – not only alleviating pain but boosting his immune system and helping minimise fatigue. Of course, he isn’t a typical patient, but most of his problems are no different from those I treat in people with normal lifestyles.’

A Bowen treatment normally takes between 45 minutes to an hour, and includes periods when the therapist stops to allow the treatment to take full effect. Therapists in the UK are regulated by the Bowen Therapy Professional Association which helps ensure high standards of practice and a code of conduct.

Bowen TPA,

Sarah Yearsley 07710 329449

Placebo effect ruled out in healing

Professional Reiki healer doing reiki treatment to young woman

Trials on plants, cells, seeds, small animals and humans using non-contact healing have proved that healing therapies are not subject to the placebo effect. Sceptics always claim that healing and many complementary therapies only work through the ‘placebo effect’. Their argument is that people who have a treatment just believe that they feel better.

The research has found that Reiki, healing, hypnotherapy, reflexology and even yoga, as well as other therapies are effective and not just placebos. To prove their point the researchers at the University of Northampton used plants, cells, seeds, small animals as well as humans to test non-contact healing in a series of separate trials.

The results uncovered a fascinating phenomenon: When ‘healing intent’ was given to each of these categories, they produced an independent positive result. The evidence shows that healing intention can improve human wellbeing, and change the behaviour of animals, plants, seeds, and cells in culture, to an extent that was statistically shown to be very unlikely to be due to chance.

Sue Knight, chief executive of the Confederation of Healing Organisations, the charity advancing the practice of Healing, commented: ‘This groundbreaking scientific evidence has dispelled the notion that healing’s effectiveness is just a ‘placebo effect’ and is crucial recognition of the fact that healing intent can make a difference to wellbeing.

‘We hope this will broaden the public’s view about the role of complementary therapies within healthcare. We see the results of this research as the first step to changing people’s perceptions about healing, and we will support this process by sharing case studies, stories and crucial education about the world’s oldest form of treatment.’
The peer review published research was recently presented to MPs in Westminster by the University of Northampton and the Confederation of Healing Organisations.

About the meta-analysis research:
· Scientific evidence for the effects of non-contact healing (published by the peer review title: Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing)
· Conducted by Professor Chris A Roe, Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh and Ms Charmaine Sonnex, University of Northampton

About the CHO:

The Confederation of Healing Organisations is the leading charity advancing the practice of Healing: promoting its benefits as a recognised complementary therapy by providing education, research and information to a wider audience of Healing and healthcare practitioners, and society as a whole.

The CHO’s website is an information hub of news, case studies and insights about Healing within the UK and internationally.

On Facebook  and on Twitter.

No more painkillers after reflexology

Reflexology mapLast September 52 year old Bron stood on a table and as she was climbing down on to a chair she missed her footing and went over backwards. She fractured her spine and had to have four months off her job as a Learning Support Manager at a local Woking school. In January she was signed off by the doctors and physios and went back to work part-time, but her back was still so painful that she kept taking painkillers.

‘A colleague suggested reflexology, and I must admit I was sceptical at first,’ Bron explains. She looked on Google and found Julia Wood (also in Woking). ‘Julia was lovely and very helpful. At the first session the side of my foot which corresponds to my back was painful, but it was ‘good’ pain. Gradually it eased off and when I go for reflexology now it doesn’t hurt at all.

‘The first session of reflexology can make you feel quite unwell and I was glad that it was a Friday because I just felt completely wiped out the next day. I gradually began to feel much better, but after six sessions I came off the painkillers.

‘Just this week I had bursitis (a painful swelling) in my hip which had flared up, so I arranged to go and see Julia. After just one session it was much easier to put my weight on the hip.

‘I’d recommend reflexology to anyone as it meant I didn’t have to take painkillers any more, and I feel so much healthier now.  I have more get up and go, so much more energy, and I sleep better, and the pain has gone. I now go every month to keep myself in good shape.’

Julia Wood is a member of the Association of Reflexologists, and she practises in Woking, Surrey, but is happy to travel to clients’ homes to give treatments. She says, ‘Reflexology can also help greatly for relaxing clients who come to me with stress-related problems or illnesses. Some clients have reported a reduction in tension,  improved general well-being and better mood with clearer thoughts.

‘For example, a client came to me to de-stress and after a course of six treatments she noticed that she felt more balanced in herself and it also made her mind feel less “congested” with thoughts and worries.’

Julia Wood:

Bowen banishes headaches and more

BOWEN Judith Kilgallon - Shoulder (2)
Judith Kilgallon practising Bowen

Eileen’s first thought when she went for a Bowen appointment was, ‘What absolute rubbish. The therapist twiddles me a bit, goes out and leaves me. Imagine my surprise then the next morning when my husband brought a mug of tea and two Co-Codamol as he usually does. I said, “I don’t need the co-codamol. My headache seems to have disappeared.” It just got better and better.’

Eileen is in her 60’s and has COPD but she was having such bad headaches that she couldn’t think clearly. ‘ My GP said that it was “my age” and that there was nothing that could be done and prescribed Co-Codamol. My brain wouldn’t function and I was in constant pain with my headaches. I found myself worrying that I was going through the early stages of Alzheimer’s.’

On the recommendation of a friend who had Parkinson’s Disease and had had great results, she decided to try Bowen Therapy. She went to The Therapy Company in St Anne’s on Sea and saw Judith Kilgallon, a Bowen therapist. ‘At the time Eileen was taking six Co-Codamol a day, had low energy levels, and couldn’t get up in the mornings. I used a diaphragm procedure on her to help with the COPD and expand the chest. This involves a movement on each side of the back and three on the front on the muscles under the ribs.’

When Eileen went for her second treatment she hadn’t had to use her inhaler for three days and her energy levels were amazing – she hadn’t had this much energy since she was in her 30’s. Eileen says, ‘My thumb which was a problem got better, my constipation got better and my breathing improved. When I went to have some tests the nurse said my breathing “had actually improved”.

Eileen decided to continue with treatments as she felt super charged and was up with the lark. She felt that Bowen had affected the way her brain works as the answers to quiz questions pop into her head and her husband is complaining that she has beaten him at dominoes for the first time in years.

She says she would recommend Bowen to others, ‘Particularly people of my age who are beginning to think that the things they’ve got wrong with them cannot be cured or improved and that they’re just stuck with them. People of my age group will be amazed. It’s not just physical – it’s mental as well!’

Read more about Bowen in : Bowen for Bear Grylls

Judith Kilgallon practises Bowen at The Therapy Company, St Annes on Sea, and The Mill, Preston, To find out more about Bowen go to: Bowen TPA,