Is taking pills the answer to illness? Is that the best we can do to look after ourselves?

For most people suffering from common illness or pain, conventional pills are an essential quick fix.

Where is the time to take some exercise, or adopt a few yoga positions, or massage the body?

If you want to take herbal medicine there is a mind-boggling variety in the stores for you to choose from, but little adequate guidance.

Even if you take herbal pills, it is still pill-popping, isn't it? The idea of being dependent on a pill to get better is still nourished.

You need to consult a trained practitioner or doctor.

What is the answer then? On the one hand, we have a National Health Service stretched beyond its limits, where doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are suffering from stress burnout due to lack of adequate resources.

On the other, modern medicine alone may offer only temporary control for many diseases. offers little for prevention of illness, or for the healing of the person.

For that which cannot be cured, healing is vital.

For many years, I have been proposing to the health authorities and health ministers that they fund the provision of complementary medicine in Primary Care.

If holistic doctors, healthcare workers and complementary therapists were trained and recruited to run combined workshops in the community, as a regular feature of the health service where people could learn self-help techniques like stress-management and pain relief, many patients would be empowered to take control of their well-being and their illness in a safe and effective way.

This would reduce the work-load for doctors and healthcare workers. It would also reduce the unnecessary prescribing of pain-killers and many other medicines, lowering government expenditure on drugs by millions of pounds.

Through the British Holistic Medical Association and Foundation for Integrated Medicine, we are bringing leading complementary practitioners, educationalists and doctors together with politicians in order to promote complementary medicine in the community.

Locally, we have established a BHMA office and the Integrated Holistic Healthcare Forum through which we hope, with your help, to be able to effect a positive change in the health of our city and our nation in mind, body and spirit.