The Book

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." - Thomas A. Edison

Lord Colwyn CBE, BDS, LDSRCS

Modern therapies can be quite inefectual when faced with chronic disease. They are often reduced to the provision of mere palliative, rather than curative treatment. Despite vast sums of money being spent on the NHS since 1948, the standard of health care in the UK has not substantially improved; demand has increased and the system has evolved as a sickness service.

In the BMA’s booklet ‘Complementary Medicine - New approaches to Good Practice’ published in 1993, complementary therapies are described as ‘those which can work alongside and in conjunction with orthodox medical treatment.’ There is clearly a wide diversity of these types of practice. They would include self-help therapies such as yoga and meditation; non-invasive therapies such as homoeopathy, hypnosis and nutrition; and interventive therapies such as acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractic. All these therapies can be used as an additional and therefore complementary form of treatment. Many of the therapists will have received a basic training grounded in the orthodox medical sciences. They will be able to work and liaise with established health-care professionals and communicate with their medical and dental colleagues in a common language.

There has been a long history of antagonism towards complementary medicine, but the rapidly increasing numbers of patients who are seeking help from such practitioners, has forced many European countries to review their current policies. In his address to the BMA in 1983, the Prince of Wales said that he feared that our preoccupation with modern medicine would divert our attention from ‘those ancient, unconscious forces, lying beneath the surface, which will help to shape the psychological attitudes of modern man.’ Whilst recognising the importance of maintaining and improving professional standards, he believed that the art of healing should take account of the long neglected complementary therapies which ‘in the right hands, can bring considerable relief, if not hope to an increasing number of people.’

In this book, Peter Varley has assembled contributions from a wide variety of skilled dentists and therapists who, whilst being acknowledged experts in many fields, have written individual chapters on their subjects. This will inform health professionals, who can then educate the public in the importance of a healthy lifestyle, explain the significance of our self-healing capacity and bring about the realisation that health care is much more about health promotion than the alleviation of the symptoms of the disease.

The dental profession, who unlike their medical colleagues, see their patients on a regular basis, should be at the forefront of the holistic approach to health care. This book will be an excellent starting point and an invaluable reference.

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