Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Blog Image)

By Paula Cave-Ayland

On July 7th Kate and I had the opportunity to talk to some trainee GPs at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich at one of their regular monthly meetings. They had asked us to talk to them about complementary therapies – just a small topic!

I must confess I felt some trepidation at the reception we might receive. But Kate prepared a PowerPoint presentation and some new leaflets with help from our marketing guru Jermaine.

The audience consisted of about 20 young men and women and our presentation was scheduled to begin after a talk about Five Element Acupuncture delivered by a lady named Theresa.

We began with ice-breaker, by giving them a slightly cryptic Food Quiz with sweets given as prizes for the correct answers before starting the presentation proper.

Our presentation dealt with:

  • Considering how Complementary Therapies can work well alongside conventional medicine and referred to the “Get Well UK” pilot in 2007 that enabled patients in some Health Centres in Northern Ireland to receive complementary therapies free following referral from their GP. It was very successful but was never put into practice on a wider scale.
  • Looking at a few therapies for which there is a body of evidence attesting to their therapeutic effects such as Massage, Reflexology and Shiatsu
    The work of the Feel Good Co-op within the Thamesmead area – providing affordable treatments
  • At one point we asked the assembled audience whether any of them had tried any complementary therapies? There was something of a deafening silence until one lady said she had had some massage.

On the more practical side Kate gave a demo of a short neck and shoulders massage – she had plenty of volunteers!

I showed how posture can be responsible for back or neck pain using three volunteers, one of whom was kind enough to take his shirt off. I had the volunteers demonstrate some common postural adaptations by changing the position of their pelvis or ankle and observing the effects on the spine. My aim was to demonstrate that the root causes of chronic back or neck pain can be far removed from the site of the pain. Therefore just looking at the back only gives half the picture.

How to judge the mood of the event, well the doctors all listened politely and took our leaflets. Some of them have placements in local surgeries so I hope that our presentation gave them a brief insight into how some therapies can help patients and why people choose to use them.

Photo Credit: The Bexley Times

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