With an increasing interest and demand of holistic therapies it is no surprise that many treatments are now available on the NHS including reflexology. The benefits of alternative medicine have become a lot more visible in these past years, so why shouldn’t it be accessible for everyone? According to The Princes of Wales Trust for Integrated Health "Research has shown that approximately 20% of the UK population use complementary healthcare, with nearly 50% of GP practices offering some form of access to complementary treatments."
Since the House of Lords select committee on science and technology published a report in 2000 on complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) recommending national occupational standards are made on all therapies. With standardised training and updated courses keeping practitioners up to date it will be easier for therapists to be employed and referred to by leading medical bodies. Please see www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldselect/ldsctech/123/12307.htm
Such standards have resulted in the need of further research being made into CAM treatments thus increasing the justification for their inclusion on the NHS.
Some PCTs (primary care trusts) provide funding for reflexology for certain conditions, but in general, access to reflexology is limited on the NHS. So how do those who can’t afford Reflexology on a regular basis qualify to have it on the NHS?
www.nhs.uk states that “Primary care trusts often have specific policies on the extent to which their patients can have access to CAM. Within those policies, it is the decision of GPs to give access to specific therapies where they consider it in the interest of the individual patient. The safety, clinical, cost-effectiveness and availability of suitably qualified/regulated practitioners are all issues that they should take into account.”
Reflexology is incredible when used frequently for pre and post natal recovery, pre and post surgical aid and also used to ease the symptoms and recovery of those with cancer (please check out www.thehaven.com) during treatment and post treatment. Treatments will aid your body’s own healing process, help to rebalance its systems and can specifically target any areas of sensitivity. Interestingly enough, I found a document on www.balens.co.uk on holistic health where a year-long pilot scheme in Northern Ireland found significant health benefits for patients offered CAM through the public health service. 713 patients with a variety of ages, conditions and backgrounds were referred to CAM.
Some of the results included:
· “80% of patients reported an improvement in their symptoms,
· 64% took less time off work
· 55% reduced their use of painkillers.
· 81% of patients reported an improvement in their physical health
· 79% reported an improvement in their mental health
· Half of GPs reported prescribing less medication and all reported that patients had indicated they needed less”
The GP’s involved were amazed and in 99% of cases they said they would refer patients and other GPs to this scheme.
The higher the demand for reflexology and other CAMs the greater the possibility will become for increased funding from the NHS in these sectors. As reflexologists we must encourage our clients who have financial difficulties to ask their GP's for funded treatments, the more people asking, the louder the message will become and to all clients of reflexology I encourage you to tell your GP's how you're benefiting from Reflexology and make inquiries about funded treatments.
The NHS already supports the benefits of reflexology and is creating awareness through http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/reflexology/Pages/Common-uses.aspx so lets hope we are not much further away from it being available to everyone.