CST Awareness Week 2019: Integrated Healthcare

by Beatrice Doubble

The Fulcrum, Issue 79 January 2020

There has been an explosion of interest in wellbeing and holistic healthcare over the past few years, and the latter has become increasingly acceptable, if not the preferred choice, for many people who aren’t getting their needs met through conventional medicine.

With increased demands on NHS services, long wait times and impossible targets, GPs, nurses and medical professionals are looking for alternative options such as community-based ‘social prescribing’, and are even beginning to refer their patients for activities such as mindfulness and yoga.  Recognising this growing shift, and following a number of fascinating discussions at the House of Commons about the future of complementary therapies and their place alongside conventional medicine, CSTA’s PR committee felt driven to theme Craniosacral Therapy Awareness Week 2019 around Integrated Healthcare.

These feel like ground-breaking and exciting times
in which the worlds of conventional and complementary healthcare can no longer resist the pull to join forces.

Our aim was to find a space to merge the worlds of conventional and complementary medicine. We scoured various hospitals and institutions searching for departments which might be open to the idea of allowing CSTA members to provide taster treatments to staff.  Eventually we arrived at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM), part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Director of Research, Dr John Hughes, who runs RLHIM’s Self-Care Space, responded with great enthusiasm to our approach and we arranged to offer sessions to clinicians and members of staff over two days.

On the first day, CSTA PR team member, Salonee Batavia, and Miki Ettore and trustee Amal Alaoui, gave taster treatments to hospital staff, including a clinical psychiatrist, an administrator, a clinical director and security officers.  Day two saw myself, Salonee and CSTA member, Ellie Wall, treat several clinicians and staff members, including a GP who actually trained in CST herself 10 years ago, a technician seeking help for migraines, a nurses’ assistant, who was so blown away that he asked where he could receive more, and an administrator who was also so intrigued that she came back for a second helping.

Our time at the Self-Care Space was inspiring and provoked a lot of positive discussion and curiosity amongst those who received treatments.  Dr Hughes was keen to discuss the potential for both future collaborations at RLHIM’s Self-Care Space and further research into the effectiveness of CST for specific health issues for which  clinicians would potentially be able to refer their clients.

It was also wonderful to hear stories from our member practitioners about their own Awareness Week collaborations, particularly CSTA members with  clinical backgrounds such as GPs, midwives, dentists and nurses.  Despite recent struggles that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies have faced, with limited NICE guidelines and NHS funding, these feel like groundbreaking and exciting times in which  the worlds of conventional and complementary healthcare can no longer resist the pull to join forces.

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