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Self-Medicating a Concern in CAM Industry

Wednesday 16th August 2006

For Immediate Release

Self-Medicating a Concern in CAM Industry

Users of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) in New Zealand are choosing to self-medicate rather than seek advice from a specialist in natural medicine. A recent study into the use of CAM by Waikato University of emergency department patients at Waikato Hospital revealed that one in three respondents used CAM. Alarmingly however, the most common source of information on the use of CAM was friends and family (47.3%) rather than a qualified natural health practitioner.

“There is a wealth of information in the public arena about healthcare including natural medicines and consumers have unprecedented levels of choice around the types of services they receive and the medicines they take,” said Jenny Cookson, Director of the Canterbury College of Natural Medicine. “While it is important to protect consumer choice and access to products that may be beneficial to health, this must be tempered with an understanding of the safety considerations that occur when ingesting any substance of therapeutic value in a therapeutic dose.”

The study also identified that two thirds of respondents purchased natural health products from sources other than a specialist practitioner. Many supplements and remedies are readily available in pharmacies, supermarkets and on-line which encourages self-medication, however it is important for CAM users with significant medical concerns to consult a qualified professional prior to purchasing such products. Cookson believes “Consultation with a qualified natural medicine practitioner will ensure that the best health results are achieved in the safest manner. This is especially true when dealing with complex medical conditions and concomitant pharmaceutical usage.”

The Canterbury College of Natural Medicine delivers professional qualifications in natural medicine. Students receive clinical training in the College Clinic under the supervision of senior clinical tutors and practice along side professional practitioners. The College and Clinic have been training students to become professional practitioners in natural medicine since 1994 and has a reputation for academic and clinical excellence.


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