Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Wednesday, May 27, 1998 Published at 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK

Health: Latest News

Think alternative says asthma charity

Asthma campaigners believe sufferers are wrongly being denied complementary therapies

Asthma campaigners have called for an end to the divide between orthodox and complementary medicine to try to improve treatment for patients.

More and more of the 3.4 million people with asthma in the UK are turning to alternative treatments, and there is evidence that techniques such as acupuncture and yoga have a positive impact.

Yet research by the National Asthma Campaign shows that more than a third of GPs will not recommend complementary medicine to their patients, mainly because there is little scientific evidence that it works.

A report entitled The Jury's Out, published by the charity, calls for for the barriers between the two areas of medicine to come down to ensure complementary therapies are appropriately used.

It also calls for more research into the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of alternative therapies. It is crucial to know, the NAC says, whether such therapies work simply by relaxing people, or whether they actually result in a physical change to the symptoms of asthma.

The NAC also wants better training and regulation for people who practice alternative therapies.

'Suspicion and territorialism'

Anne Bradley, the charity's chief executive, said: "Suspicion and territorialism benefit no one - least of all the people who are ill.

"Regardless of whether complementary medicine works, we know from our own and other surveys that people with asthma are using complementary medicine so we simply can't ignore it, and need to address some of the problems as best we can now.

"Our ultimate goal is to have informed patients, working in partnership with their health professional - whatever the discipline - to allow them to take control of their asthma."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Relevant Stories

21 May 98 | Latest News
Breath of fresh air for asthma sufferers

21 May 98 | UK
Nurse loses landmark smoking case

04 May 98 | Americas
Asthma heroine branded 'drug dealer'

Internet Links

Allergies - a Doctor's Guide

National Asthma Campaign

Asthma discussion group

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.