Seal of approval for new therapies

Tai-Chi - Craig Nagy

Acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy, hypnosis and tai-chi are recognised by academy of medicine

ALTERNATIVE therapies such as acupuncture, manual therapies of chiropractic and osteopathy, hypnosis and tai-chi have been given the seal of approval by the Académie Nationale de Médecine – but members maintained that scientific medicine was still the only real medical practice.

The academy, which is the official body for medicine in France, had been asked to pronounce on alternative medicine by academician Prof Joël Menkès (who has written papers warning of the dangers of osteopathy) after the AP-HP hospitals in Paris decided last summer to include the therapies in its care programme.

In its report, the academy said it was “astonished” that the Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris had decided to move unilaterally. However, it recognised that these four therapies – and these four alone out of the range of around 400 alternative therapies - had their uses.

Using the term “complementary therapies” because the therapies are not considered medicine in themselves, the academy said it had decided to rule on only four therapies because they were the ones that had been most studied and had the greatest number of scientific publications.

However, it has ruled that the alternative therapies should only be recommended by a doctor after a proper medical examination.

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