Bristol University to host research into complementary medicine
Press release issued: 23 April 2003
The University of Bristol has been identified by the Department of Health as one of five Higher Education Institutions in the UK to host research into complemetary and alternative medicine.
Dr Alison Shaw, lecturer in the University's Division of Primary Health Care has been awarded a national CAM post-doctoral fellowship to study patients' and practioners' views on and use of CAM.
It is hoped that a greater understanding of why patients use complementary therapies, the type of therapies they use and the kinds of health conditions they use them for, will inform the provision of such therapies within the NHS and thus the development of more integrated care.
In recent years, the University's Division of Primary Health Care has been widening its portfolio of research to examine the benefits patients derive from CAM. Current research projects include:
- An MRC funded trial examining the Alexander Technique and massage therapy for back pain
- A qualitative study of 'Male cancer patients' views on and use of CAM' funded under the Department of Health's 'The Role of CAM in the Care of Patients with Cancer' research programme
- A study of asthma patients' and professionals' views on and use of CAM
This developing programme of research is supported by excellent relationships with NHS providers including the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, other healthcare providers such as Bristol Cancer Help Centre, and local CAM practitioner networks such as Healthy Bristol and Complementary Health in Partnerships.
The growing portfolio of research on CAM in Bristol will not only inform CAM and 'conventional' health care but will also underpin CAM education provision. The University's undergraduate medical curriculum already contains a vertical theme on 'Whole Person Care' which addresses issues in complementary medicine use. The research being conducted will further enhance this CAM education provision for future doctors by grounding it in rigorous and current research evidence.