Sources: Forbes Woman (9th of June, 2012); Mosaiikki #2 (74) 12, Relaxbirth.
Believe it or not but easy birth giving with Relaxbirth birthing "chair", read more....
"In 2009 Helsinki hosted the second EUWIIN competition. Again the winner of the competition was Finnish midwife Eija Pessinen. She developed a revolutionary system of obstetrics Relaxbirth System, which helps during the delivery process not only a woman and an infant, but also medical personnel.
During 1987-1988 Eija Pessinen worked in one of the most undeveloped countries of Central America, Nicaragua. Wars and embargoes on the external help resulted in a constant shortage of fuel, water, instruments, medicine and disinfection materials. Eija was traveling from village to village and was providing vaccination to the local inhabitants. In Nicaragua she noticed and understood the importance of the utilization of the natural human body’s reactions.
Eija was working as a midwife in one of the local hospitals and teaching the local midwives, who in their turn had own methods of obstetrics traditionally developed and passed from generation to generation. While teaching, she learned herself a lot by observing how local midwives controlled the process of delivery. They listened to baby’s heartbeat without special equipment, but only using their ears and hands.
Later, Eija continued her studies in England. This time she was studying marketing. Degree in Economy and experience provided her with courage to develop the innovation and turned it into real idea, Relaxbirth. Relaxbirth is an innovative and ergonomic method of the birth-giving process. The delivery time is considerably shorter compared to current in beds and the whole process makes it less stressing both for the baby and the woman.
Realxbirth method has became popular in Finland with highly positive experiences and feedback from women using it.
During the delivery a woman is sitting in a vertical position on an fully adjustable "cahir" that will fit to the woman's body and requirements. She holds her hands on special hangers where she can put her stress and bear down correctly.
In short Relaxbirth process follows the path human babies have been born for millions of years long before our written history. The ancient ways are now combined with the modern technology and the clear winners the babies, the delivering women and also all medical personnel, the midwives, nurses and doctors.
The Relaxbirth method has been researched and tested in practice in several Finnish maternity hospitals for several years now. Women in labour have given the feedback with full of praise:
- The method has helped women to reduce their stress and anxiety during childbirth.
- Relaxbirth users felt that they were in control of their bodies and the situation.
- The relaxation mothers experienced during the early stage of labour helped to relieve contraction pains.
- The women felt that they could actively influence the duration of the birth.
- One mother commented: “I could actually see my baby being born, which would not be possible on the bed.”
- The effectiveness of the pushing stage and speed of the birth came as a surprise to mothers who had previously given birth: “What! Is it already over?” “Amazing! I did it all by myself!”
- One grandmother who had been introduced to the Relaxbirth method exclaimed, “Oh, if only this had been available when I gave birth!”
I've long said that the best strategy for achieving health is avoiding a visit to your doctor in the first place. Why? Because in many cases you will simply leave the office with a prescription or two, which will rarely solve your health problem. Most doctor visits result in "solutions" that only suppress your symptoms, often causing other side effects and problems.
Rather than advise patients about the true underlying conditions and real solutions that lead to health, they are left putting toxic Band-Aids on gaping wounds. As shown in the slideshow above, and as I detail in depth below, there are actually many reasons why avoiding your doctor may be in the best interest of your health …
Many physicians still advise women to receive yearly pap smears, but the newest guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force specifically recommend against this. The new recommendations call for women to undergo PAP screening only once every three years, beginning at age 21 and ending around age 65.
When testing is more frequent, or started before age 21, there's a chance of detecting human papillomavirus (HPV), and associatedlesions, more frequently. If a physician detects such lesions, they will assume they are "pre-cancerous" and treat them accordingly. However, most HPV infections and associated low grade squamous intra-epithelial lesions clear up on their own without treatment, while the treatment itself can lead to cervical incompetence and/or miscarriage in the future. Since most cases of HPV clear up on their own, this is a case where the treatment may do more harm than good.
That said, PAP smears (which screen for cervical cancer typically associated with HPV) are one of the best tools for preventing cervical cancer deaths – but getting one every year is likely unnecessary.
Evidence shows that screening women for cervical cancer more frequently than every three years does not detect more cancer. Women who have not been exposed to HPV are not at risk for cervical cancer. Further, even if you are exposed and the infection does not clear up on its own (which is not common), it can take 10 years before it progresses to cancer. Cervical cancers are very slow growing, which is why less frequent PAP screens are still effective.
Despite the new PAP screen guidelines, most physicians continue to recommend annual PAP screening to their patients, mostly because they (and their patients) are in the habit of doing so. Some physicians also fear their patients will not come in for annual exams and other screening if the PAP is not required every year.
There is also a good deal of evidence that the revised PAP guidelines are part of a plan to rescue Gardasil (HPV) vaccine sales, which are embarrassingly low. The HPV vaccine is a heavily promoted and very expensive vaccine, but it has been a flop, with less than 27 percent of women opting to receive it, and reports of serious adverse effects continuing to pour in.
Only about 1 in 8 women whose breast cancer was identified during a routine mammogram actually had their lives "saved" by the screening, a recent analysis estimated– and this does not accurately account for how many women will fall victim to mammogram-induced breast cancer.
Using breast cancer data from The National Cancer Institute and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers calculated a 50-year-old woman's likelihood of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years, the odds the cancer would be detected by mammography, and her risk of dying from the cancer over 20 years.
They found that a mammogram has, at best, only a 13 percent probability of saving her life, and that the probability may actually be as low as 3 percent. No matter what analyses they used, including considering women of different ages, the probability of a mammogram saving a life remained below 25 percent. Researchers concluded:
"Most women with screen-detected breast cancer have not had their life saved by screening. They are instead either diagnosed early (with no effect on their mortality) or overdiagnosed."
This bears repeating:
Mammograms often diagnose lesions or tumors that may never threaten a woman's life. They also often result in false positives that lead to over-treatment, i.e. misdiagnosed women often undergo unnecessary mastectomies, lumpectomies, radiation treatments and chemotherapy, which can have a devastating effect on both the quality and length of their lives. Plus, a mammogram uses ionizing radiation, which in and of itself can either induce or contribute to the development of breast cancer.
Think it's wise to go to a conventional physician for these? Think again. Thanks to routine over-prescription of antibiotics, and the prescription of inappropriate antibiotics, you're likely to walk away after being told to take a drug you don't actually need.
Antibiotics do NOT work against viruses, hence they are useless against colds and flu's. Unfortunately antibiotics are vastly over-prescribed for this purpose. If you have a cold or flu, remember that unless you have a serious secondary bacterial pneumonia, an antibiotic will likely do far more harm than good, because whenever you use an antibiotic, you're increasing your susceptibility to developing infections with resistance to that antibiotic -- and you can become the carrier of this resistant bug, and can spread it to others.
The first thing you want to do when you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu is to avoid ALL sugars, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system -- which needs to be ramped up, not suppressed, in order to combat an emerging infection. This includes fructose from fruit juice, and all types of grains (as they break down into sugar (glucose) in your body).
Ideally, you must address nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress issues the moment you first feel yourself getting a bug. Getting plenty of high quality sleep will be crucial to your recovery. This is when immune-enhancing strategies will be most effective. In addition, the research is quite clear that the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections. I strongly believe you could avoid colds and influenza entirely by maintaining your vitamin D level in the optimal range.
Many doctors are unaware that a high-fat diet is NOT the cause of heart disease. They are fooled into believing that total cholesterol is an accurate predictor of heart disease. If you visit your physician and you have high cholesterol, you're likely to be told two things:
- Take a statin cholesterol-lowering drug and
- Don't eat saturated fat.
While statin drugs do lower cholesterol very effectively, cholesterol is not the culprit in heart disease. Plus a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claims that no study has ever proven that statins improve all-cause mortality -- in other words, they don't prolong your life any longer than if you'd not taken them at all. And rather than improving your life, they actually contribute to a deterioration in the quality of your life, destroying muscles and endangering liver, kidney and even heart function. The best ways to optimize your cholesterol levels and your heart health have to do with lifestyle measures, including eating healthy minimally processed fats and avoid highly processed vegetable fats and oils that are loaded with toxic omega-6 fats.
Once again, you're more likely to leave the doctor's office with a prescription for a drug that could be more dangerous than the problem itself. Every year, 230 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled, making them one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States. The psychiatric industry itself is a $330 billion industry—not bad for an enterprise that offers little in the way of cures.
Despite all of these prescriptions, more than one in 20 Americans are depressed. Of those depressed Americans, 80 percent say they have some level of functional impairment, and 27 percent say their condition makes it extremely difficult to do everyday tasks like work, activities of daily living, and getting along with others.
The use of antidepressant drugs—medicine's answer for depression—doubled in just one decade, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005.
If these drugs are so extensively prescribed, then why are so many people feeling so low?
Because they don't work at addressing the cause.
Research has confirmed that antidepressant drugs are no more effective than sugar pills. Some studies have even found that sugar pills may produce BETTER results than antidepressants! Personally, I believe the reason for this astounding finding is that both pills work via the placebo effect, but the sugar pills produce far fewer adverse effects.
Many people forget that antidepressants come with a slew of side effects, some of which are deadly. Approximately 750,000 people attempt suicide each year in the US, and about 30,000 of those succeed. Taking a drug that is unlikely to relieve your symptoms and may actually increase your risk of killing yourself certainly does not seem like a good choice. In addition, since most of the treatment focus is on drugs, many safe and natural treatment options that DO work -- like exercise, the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), vitamin D, and proper nutrition -- are completely ignored.
The definition of what constitutes high blood pressure expanded greatly in 2003, so that drug companies could sell drugs loaded with side effects to 45 million extra people. Because the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (rife with drug industry conflicts of interest) decided that what were in actuality relatively low blood pressure readings were a risk for heart disease, millions more over the years, were suddenly labeled abnormal, and in need of "treatment" for a condition that didn't exist in medical literature until that panel met.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern that can lead to heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. The good news though is that following a healthy nutrition plan, along with exercising and implementing effective stress reduction techniques will normalize blood pressure in most people.
These tests actually reveal very little, and an irrelevant positive result will likely lead to a biopsy that comes with infection risk. The prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test), analyzes your blood for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by your prostate gland. When higher-than-normal levels of PSA are detected, it is believed that cancer is present. However, PSA screening barely has any impact on mortality rates from prostate cancer. As a result, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force will soon recommend that men not get screened for prostate cancer.
Today, many experts agree that PSA testing is unreliable at best and useless at worst for accurately diagnosing prostate cancer. Many also agree that routine PSA blood tests often lead to over-diagnosis of prostate cancer, resulting in unnecessary treatments. Similar to mammograms, the PSA screen has become little more than an up-sell technique. The false positive rate is high, and the bulk of the harm is a result of subsequent unnecessary treatments.
Diet is actually a factor that can greatly impact your prostate health and help prevent enlarged prostate and prostate cancer, but many physicians fail to address this.
You'll want to eat as much organic (preferably raw) food as possible, and liberally include fresh herbs and spices, such as ginger. Make sure to limit carbohydrates like sugar/fructose and grains as much as possible to maintain optimal insulin levels, which will help reduce your cancer risk in general. Highly processed or charcoaled meats, pasteurized dairy products, and synthetic trans fats correlate with an increased risk for prostate cancer and should also be avoided.
Most doctors are clueless about what constitutes a healthy diet. As such, they will recommend health catastrophes like artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils in lieu of butter, and fat-free pasteurized dairy products. Most will also neglect to tell you about the foods you could be eating more of to optimize your health, like fermented vegetables, raw dairy products, healthy fats (like saturated and animal-based omega-3s), grass-fed beef and more.
In addition, most are ignorant about the importance of how to cook your food – most foods are best consumed when raw or only lightly cooked, and this includes animal proteins like eggs and meat. A discussion about food quality is essential to health (i.e. getting your meat from a small local farmer instead of a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO)) but you will almost never hear this from your family physician. Wondering how to truly eat healthy? See my nutrition plan for a comprehensive (and free) guide.
A drug prescription is usually a Band-Aid that gets nowhere near the root cause of illness. And many drugs are dangerous. Last year an analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control CDC) revealed that deaths from properly prescribed drugs now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States! And when you add in deaths attributable to other medical care modalities, like hospital admissions and surgery, the modern medical system becomes the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.
Authored in two parts by Gary Null, PhD, Carolyn Dean, MD ND, Martin Feldman, MD, Debora Rasio, MD, and Dorothy Smith, PhD, the comprehensive Death by Medicine article described in excruciating detail how everything from medical errors to adverse drug reactions to unnecessary procedures caused more harm than good. That was in 2003. In 2010, an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, despite efforts to improve patient safety in the past few years, the health care system hasn't changed much at all.
For one of many examples, the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, which have been endorsed by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee, contain a drug called drospirenone that makes women who take it nearly seven times more likely to develop thromboembolism. This is an obstruction of a blood vessel that can lead to deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attack and death.
Why did the FDA approve this dangerous drug? It turns out that at least four members of the advisory committee have either done work for the drugs' manufacturers or licensees, or received research funding from them. According to the Alliance for Natural Health:
"Each of those four panelists who received money from the pill's manufacturer voted in favor of the pill. Interestingly, the committee's ruling that the drug's benefit outweighs the risks was decided by a four-vote margin. Ironically, while the FDA allowed voting by advisors with business connections to drospirenone, the agency barred ... Sidney M. Wolfe, on the grounds that he ... had advised his readers not to take Yaz based on several years of data."
A U.S. telephone survey found that 79 percent of Americans trust their doctor. But a recent survey of 1,900 physicians revealed that some are not always open or honest with their patients The results were less than impressive, to put it mildly:
- One-third of physicians did not completely agree with disclosing serious medical errors to patients
- One-fifth did not completely agree that physicians should never tell a patient something untrue
- Amazingly 40% believed that they should hide their financial relationships with drug and device companies to patients
- Ten percent said they had told patients something untrue in the previous year
When making health care decisions, you should certainly get your physicians' advice -- that's what you're paying them for, after all. Hopefully you have chosen a health care provider who has similar philosophies about health as you do, and whose expertise you can trust. But remember that when making health care decisions, you must be your own advocate; it's important to ask questions before opting for tests, procedures or treatments, and it's your decision if you'd rather opt for less medical intervention while choosing a more natural way of healing your body.
Ultimately, the more you take responsibility for your own health -- in the form of nurturing your body to prevent disease -- the less you need to rely on the "disease care" that passes for health care in the United States. If you carefully follow some basic health principles -- simple things like exercising, eating whole foods, sleeping enough, getting sun exposure, reducing stress in your life, and nurturing personal relationships -- you will drastically reduce your need for conventional medical care, which in and of itself will reduce your chances of suffering ill side effects.
But in the event you do need medical care, seek a health care practitioner who will help you move toward complete wellness by helping you discover and understand the hidden causes of your health challenges ... and create a customized and comprehensive -- i.e. holistic -- treatment plan for you.
The original story is from Huffing ton post 03/23/2012. The required further analysis was done and final decision to go forward and approve the homeopathy to become part of the Swiss health care system was approved on May 17, 2009.
The very small doses commonly used in homeopathic medicine are both effective and cost-effective. Despite the impressive technological prowess of conventional medicine today, the Swiss government is accepting homeopathy as part of their health service. In 2005 they had stopped paying for many so-called alternative medicines, but reversed their decision with regard to homeopathy based upon a review of the subject.
The US medical industry appears to be scanning vigilantly web to attack every blog reporting of the final 2009 decision. The Medical Industry uses the 2005 intermediate decision as their proof that Switzerland has rejected Home apathy. To our surprise we were noticed immediately and asked to correct our "erroneous blog".
The Swiss people are well educated and much wealthier per capita as we here in the USA and their health care system is actually exactly like "Romneycare" in MA or now the US Supreme Court upheld "Obamacare". As we all know both GOP and Romney have vowed to kill "Obamacare".
Switzerland modified their private health care system some 20 years ago to demanding that all people must be covered. They had had noticed that the industry was covering less and less people and those with pre-existing conditions and difficult health problems. This was not acceptable to the Swiss people and laws were passed that health care industry must insure everybody regardless what kind of illnesses they may have.
Nobody denies the high quality of the Swiss health care and this all will cost only 11% cost of the GDP, compared to the 17% in the USA.
Switzerland has one oh the highest life expectancies in the world while the USA has one of the lowest among the industrialized Nations. You may not believe but the hospital rooms and their services look more like those in 5-star hotels. Switzerland is also home for several of the largest industrial medical corporations.
The Swiss democracy is one of the real well functioning democracies on earth. Citizens are directly involved in deciding what is done with their tax money. Their government works only part time. The job of the government and President with his cabinet is to prepare laws for the people to vote. The voters are the only real decision makers. The nation is highly educated making it impossible to lobby anything that is not true to become a law contrary to what is frequently done in the USA.
Here is what Huffington Post reported:
"In a story akin to "the mouse that roared," the Swiss government has determined that the very small doses commonly used in homeopathic medicine are both effective and cost-effective. Despite the impressive technological prowess of conventional medicine today, the Swiss government has determined that homeopathy is considerably more cost effective.
My previous article highlighted a remarkable report on homeopathic medicine conducted by and for the government of Switzerland. This previous article described the significant body of evidence from multiple sources that verify the efficacy of homeopathic medicines, while this new article focuses on another body of evidence reviewed for the Swiss government that investigated the cost-effectiveness of homeopathic treatment.
In this day and age of economically-challenging times for both individuals and governments, this report from the Swiss government has confirmed the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic treatment. The fact that homeopathy is also widely recognized as one of the safest methods of medicine is but one additional special benefit for this natural medicine.
Ultimately, the Swiss government's report was the most comprehensive review to date of any governmental body on the scientific evidence on homeopathic medicine. The Swiss' "Health Technology Assessment" was a thorough analysis of a wide variety of clinical studies and laboratory research.(1) The report also reviewed the body of evidence on cost-effectiveness research for homeopathic care, and it even conducted its own cost-effectiveness study among Swiss physicians and patients.
Drawing cost data of participating physicians from Swiss health insurers, this review included all expenditures covered from consultation costs (diagnostic and therapeutic procedures), costs for medication (directly dispensed or prescriptions), costs for external laboratory analyses, and costs for physiotherapy.
The Swiss report found that total practice costs for physicians who specialized in homeopathic medicine had an overall 15.4 percent reduction in overall health care costs associated with their practice, as compared with physicians who practiced conventional medicine as well as those physicians who practice other "complementary and alternative medicine" treatments (but not homeopathic medicine). (2) The significant reduction in health care costs from homeopathic treatment represents a potential savings in hundreds of millions of dollars or more in many countries.
The authors of the Swiss report noted patients seeking homeopathic and alternative health care treatment tended to have more chronic illness (greater than three months) and more serious illness, factors that would usually lead to higher health care costs, but it was also discovered that the homeopathic patients tended to be younger, which would usually lead to lower health care costs.
This significant 15 percent saving from homeopathic care confirmed from an independent Dutch study that analyzed claims from a major health insurer which also found a 15 percent reduction in health care costs associated with alternative medical care by physicians who were trained in homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, or anthrosophical medicine (Kooreman, Baars, 2011). The health economists who conducted this research concluded that the lower costs resulted from fewer hospital stays and fewer expensive prescription drugs. It is of further importance to note that the authors also found that patients who go to physicians who practice complementary and alternative medicine live longer lives too.
The Swiss government's report on homeopathy also referenced numerous studies that evaluated the cost-effectiveness of homeopathic vs. conventional medical care for people suffering from specific health problems, including female fertility, rheumatoid arthritis, otitis media, respiratory allergies, and dyspepsia. Of special significance was the truly substantial difference between the costs of homeopathic treatment of women experiencing fertility problems as compared with women seeking conventional medical care. A study of children with upper respiratory tract infections found that children who received homeopathic treatment had fewer recurrences and lower antibiotic consumption than children using conventional treatment. Further, an economic assessment of 569 patients with rheumatic disorders found that 29 percent could stop taking their conventional medications, 33 percent could reduce their dependence on drugs, and only 6 percent chose to increase their medication once homeopathic treatment began.
A report from the German government was also cited in this Swiss study because it compared hospitalization rates of female patients who sought care from conventional physicians as compared with those females who from homeopathic physicians. This study found that female patients were six times more hospitalizations from conventional physicians as from homeopathic physicians.
In addition to reduced health care costs from homeopathic treatment, the report also noted reductions in various indirect costs, including some studies showing reduced days off from sickness in those patients under homeopathic care.
The Swiss report further discovered that patients reported better quality of the patient-physician relationship and fewer adverse side effects with physicians who practiced CAM, thus, leading the report to conclude higher cost-effectiveness for this type of medical practices.
The "appropriateness" of homeopathy as a health care option was also evaluated in the Swiss report, which the authors have divided into two sections: demand/use and safety. Based on the high demand of the Swiss population for homeopathy and the high levels of safety that is widely known about homeopathy, the Swiss report asserts that there is substantial appropriateness for homeopathy for the Swiss public. Surveys estimate that 57 percent of the Swiss population uses complementary and alternative medicine, and about 40 percent of all medical practitioners in Switzerland prescribed alternative and complementary medicine treatments and 62.5 percent were "in favor of CAM" (Rist and Schwabl, 2009).
The Swiss government also funded a study of more than 3,000 people that compared "patient satisfaction" from those who sought care from a homeopathic physician vs. those who sought care from a conventional medical doctor (Marian, Joost, Saini, et al, 2008). Patients of homeopathic physicians were significantly more often "completely satisfied" (53 percent vs. 43 percent) with their treatment than patients of conventional doctors, without significant differences in the fulfillment of their treatment related expectations. This study also discovered that patients who sought treatment from a conventional doctor had almost four times as many serious side effects as those who sought homeopathic treatment.
Besides finding reducing costs to homeopathic treatment, the Swiss report referenced a significant number of randomized double-blind clinical studies showing efficacy of treatment from homeopathic care. Of greater significance, they found that 20 of 22 systematic reviews (meta-analyses) detected at least a trend in favor of homeopathy, with at least five reviews yielding results indicating clear evidence for homeopathic therapy. Although the Swiss report is not available online, interested readers with an interest in research published in peer-review medical journals will benefit from reading the numerous articles that I have published at this website in the past.
The Swiss report acknowledged that some clinical studies do not show positive results for homeopathy, though the authors of this governmental report note that most of these studies were conducted in a way that ignored some important principles of homeopathy, setting themselves up for a negative outcome and thereby creating a false-negative result. Skeptics of homeopathy commonly refer to a select group of seemingly high-quality studies that show that homeopathic medicines did not work, but these skeptics ignore the fact that many of these studies did not use the correct medicine for the condition. For instance, one study used a homeopathic dose of a medicine for weight-loss when it is well-known that there is no one remedy that will work for everyone who wishes to lose weight.
The bottom line is that large numbers of the Swiss population use homeopathic medicines and select other natural therapies. After a nationwide referendum in May 2009 that found a two-thirds majority (!) favoring the integration of CAM into the Swiss health system, the Swiss Minister of Health approved reimbursement by the government's health program for five leading natural therapies, including anthroposophic medicine, homeopathy, neural therapy, phytotherapy/herbal medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine, for a test period until 2018.
The Swiss report noted that one of the first health economic studies to compare homeopathic and conventional medical treatment was conducted in 1900 (Bradford, 1900). This book, simply entitled The Logic of Figures, compared the morbidity (disease) and mortality (death) rates in homeopathic vs. conventional medical hospitals, as well as these rates in mental institutions and penitentiaries in which either homeopathic OR conventional medical services were provided. Much to the surprise of conventional medicine, the death rates were typically two to eight times higher in those patients who received conventional medical care as compared with those who received homeopathic treatment (literally hundreds of hospitals' records were compared). Of special interest were the impressive results that patients received from homeopathic medicines in the treatment of the many feared infectious diseases, including cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, scarlet fever, pneumonia, and influenza.
In addition to the above research conducted for the Swiss government, other researchers in North America have found efficacy and cost-effectiveness of various "integrative health practices" (Guarneri, Horrigan, Pechura 2010). Data supporting the efficacy and cost effectiveness of an integrative approach to healthcare comes from three sources: medical research conducted at universities, studies carried out by corporations developing employee wellness programs, and pilot projects run by insurance companies.
The most famous words from Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, were "First, do no harm." In the light of the fact that homeopathic and various integrative health practices being so much safer than conventional medical strategies, it may be time for governments and insurers to follow the lead of the government and people of Switzerland. "
(1) Although this Swiss government report was just published in book form in 2011, the report was finalized in 2006. In light of this date, the authors evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses on homeopathic research up until June 2003.
(2) The researchers of this cost-effectiveness study provided statistical adjustment for seven cofactors that would lead one treatment to have an economic advantage over the others, such as when a population of patients is younger or older than another groups.
Bornhoft, Gudrun, and Matthiessen, Peter F. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Goslar, Germany: Springer, 2011. http://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1
Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K, Righetti M, Maxion-Bergemann S, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen AE, Matthiessen PF. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice - summarized health technology assessment. Forschende Komplementärmedizin (2006);13 Suppl 2:19-29.
Bradford T. The Logic of Figures or comparative results of homoeopathic and other treatments. Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1900.
Guarneri, Erminia (Mimi); Horrigan Bonnie J; Pechura Constance M. The Efficacy and Cost Effectiveness of Integrative Medicine: A Review of the Medical and Corporate Literature. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing - September 2010 (Vol. 6, Issue 5, Pages 308-312, DOI: 10.1016/j http://www.explorejournal.com/article/S1550-8307(10)00144-8/abstract; full article: http://www.bravewell.org/content/IM_E_CE_Final.pdf
Kooreman P, Baars E: Patients whose GP knows complementary medicine have lower costs and live longer. Eur J Health Econ 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10198-011-0330-2.
Marian F, Joost K, Saini KD, von Ammon K, Thurneysen A, Busato A. Patient satisfaction and side effects in primary care: an observational study comparing homeopathy and conventional medicine. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008 Sep 18;8:52.
Rist L, Schwabl H: Komplementärmedizin im politischen Prozess. Schweizer Bevölkerungstimmt über Verfassungsartikel «Zukunft mit Komplementärmedizin» ab. Forsch Komplementmed 2009, doi 10.1159/000203073. (Translation: Complementary medicine in the political process: The Swiss population votes on the Constitutional Articlehttp://www.ayurveda-association.eu/files/swiss_referendum_on_cam_-_forschkomplementmed_2009.pdf
Dana Ullman, MPH, is America's leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com . He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (the Foreword to this book was written by Dr. Peter Fisher, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California.
Background: Following the decision taken by the Federal Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on 9 July 1998, five complementary therapies – anthroposophical medicine, homeopathy, neural therapy, phytotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine (more precisely, traditional Chinese herbal therapy) – were included on 1 July 1999 for a limited period (until 30 June 2005) in the list of services covered by the compulsory health insurance scheme (KLV).
These services are only eligible for reimbursement if they are provided by physicians who have the relevant proficiency certificates, issued by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH). The decision on whether these complementary methods should be retained within the basic health insurance scheme is dependent on their efficacy, appropriateness and cost- effectiveness being demonstrated. To this end, the Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme (PEK) was carried out from 1998 to 2005. The aim of the present Final Report is to summarize the design and results of this programme.
Design of the PEK: In a sometimes difficult process – seeking consensus among representatives of complementary therapies and conventional medicine and methodologists – a basic procedure was defined, comprising two parts. In Part 1 (evaluation of the provision of complementary medicine for patients in Switzerland), empirical studies were to be carried out, permitting conclusions as to: (a) how prevalent the five therapies are in Switzerland, (b) which physicians offer these therapies, (c) which patients have recourse to them, d) what results are achieved with these treatments, and (e) what impact these therapies have on costs. For points b, c, and e, comparisons were made with conventional medicine. On account of methodological and time-related problems, however, point d could not be evaluated.
In Part 2 (literature analysis), the literature available internationally on efficacy, appropriateness (here primarily defined in terms of safety and utilization) and cost-effectiveness was to be systematically compiled and reviewed.
Results of the evaluation of the provision of complementary medicine for patients in Switzerland:
In 2002, 10.6% of the Swiss population had recourse to at least one of the five complementary therapies, with homeopathy being the individual method most frequently mentioned.
Practitioners of complementary medicine can be distinguished from physicians providing conventional healthcare with regard to the nature, location and technical resources of their practice. The patients they treat tend to be younger, female and better educated. These patients tend to have a favourable attitude towards complementary medicine and to exhibit chronic and more severe forms of disease. Technical diagnostic procedures are performed more rarely, and patients’ wishes are taken into account more frequently in the choice of treatment. On average, the consultation lasts markedly longer than in conventional care.
Patients are more satisfied with the care provided in practices offering complementary medicine.
Side effects are reported by markedly fewer patients than with conventional care – with the exception of phytotherapy.
With complementary medicine, the total annual costs are markedly lower than the average for conventional care. Overall, however, complementary practitioners treat fewer patients, and more frequently younger and female patients. Adjusted for these factors, the total patient- related costs do not differ significantly from those for conventional care. The cost structure is characterized by a greater weighting for consultation costs and a lower weighting for drug costs. The actual increase in costs resulting from the inclusion of the five complementary therapies in Switzerland’s basic healthcare provision proved to be markedly lower than expected. On the basis of the statistics produced by the PEK, the question of whether complementary medicine should be regarded as being utilized in addition to or, rather, instead of conventional care cannot be definitively answered.
Results of the literature analysis: The analysis of the literature involved two different projects.
(1) For each of the five complementary therapies, a comprehensive overall evaluation (evaluation report) was prepared. (2) In addition, meta-analyses (systematic reviews including statistical evaluation of aggregated data) of placebo-controlled clinical studies were prepared for homeopathy, phytotherapy and traditional Chinese herbal therapy. As no or only insufficient placebo-controlled studies were available for anthroposophical medicine and neural therapy, meta-analyses were not carried out in these cases.
As regards the first project, the assessment of efficacy was favourable in all of the evaluation reports. For phytotherapy and homeopathy in particular, this was based on the evaluation of published systematic reviews and randomized clinical studies. In the case of traditional Chinese herbal therapy, while numerous randomized studies of Chinese origin exist, they are scarcely available in Western countries. For anthroposophical medicine, a very limited number of randomized studies and a larger number of other studies are available. For neural therapy, a very limited number of studies exist, as well as numerous individual case reports.
In the view of the evaluation committee, the interpretation of the available evidence on efficacy in the evaluation reports appears to be overly optimistic for all of the methods reviewed, and especially for neural therapy. The safety of all five therapies is favourably assessed, with certain reservations in the case of neural therapy and traditional Chinese herbal therapy.
Data concerning utilization are only available for complementary medicine as a whole; for many countries, the uptake is shown to be high and still increasing. With regard to cost-effectiveness, only isolated studies exist, which do not permit any firm conclusions. For anthroposophical medicine and homeopathy, there is evidence that the costs arising are at least offset by savings elsewhere.
As regards the second project, in the view of the authors of the meta-analyses, the available placebo-controlled studies on homeopathy do not demonstrate any clear effect over and above placebo. For phytotherapy, in contrast, a positive result is shown, as in the evaluation report, and for traditional Chinese herbal therapy an unequivocal assessment is not possible.
Here, too, the validity of the conclusions of the meta-analyses should be regarded as limited from a methodological perspective.