Monday, October 15, 2007

A long lost friend and challenges in CAM research

A long lost friend was in touch over the weekend to chat with me about my comments on research in CAM - complementary and alternative medicine. I met this friend, who I'll refer to as SA, while we were both progressing through the challenges of doing a PhD, although she was close to finishing as I was embarking on my journey. I always really enjoyed our conversations, as she was far more broadly read than myself, and always had interesting perspectives to share... an old soul perhaps. As she was finishing her traditional scientific pursuits, SA became interestes in Reiki and CAM. At the time, I listened, but couldn't really understand, and remained a sceptic. SA moved away pursuing her CAM career, and my traditional science career continued.

Four to five years later, I was needing some stress relief in my life, and Reiki again crossed my path. This time, I was more open to the idea as I guess the idea had had time to ferment since SA first introduced me to it. I did the starter course, finding Reiki a useful technique to relax myself somewhat. While still somewhat sceptical, it seemed to work so what harm in using it on myself, even if not necessarily competent (or more likely patient enough) to do it on others.

Some time has passed since then, and it was a welcome surprise to hear again from my old friend and have her share some of her challenges in combining good science with CAM, given the hurdles of acceptability of CAM in the country she now resides in.

So to set the record somewhat straight, there are some places trying to conduct research in CAM, which I was unaware of, due to my surroundings in a conventional medicine environment perhaps, although there remains some challenges in the area. For those interested, here are a few links to interesting CAM websites, both in Aus and overseas, to help balance the debate: - US National Centre for CAM - Australian Self Medication Industry - Complementary Medicine - the Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education & Research, a joint venture between the University of Queensland (UQ) and Southern Cross University (SCU). - Australian Government supports reform for complementary medicine

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