The training of doctors in modern medicine gives them a solid foundation.

This makes them unique in their understanding of the structure and functions of the human body.

Doctors learn to treat their patients with medicines or surgery.

The treatment of disease, however, is mainly by pharmaceutical chemicals.

There is little else doctors can offer except sympathy.

The psycho-spiritual structure of our bodies; the effects of emotion and stress on the development of disease; how to use the mind-body-spirit connection in the management of illness or, more importantly, in the prevention of illness all of these remain largely unexplored in the medical profession and in its training.

Advances in diagnostic technology have given us very sophisticated tools with which to accurately identify physical and biochemical disease.

But they do not address the more subtle causes of disease such as emotional, spiritual and mental stress, nor the social culture that prevents individuals feeling motivated to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Alas, the healthcare system itself poses problems.

Too many bureaucratic and external pressures divert the poor doctor's energy into dealing with non-medical trivia, preventing the doctor from developing a holistic approach to their management of patients.

Since the medical hierarchy has no training in the holistic management of the mind-body-spirit system, society is deprived of a comprehensive, effective healthcare system with a preventative model.

For doctors, who carry the whole burden of responsibility, one factor that may prevent the inclusion of complementary therapies in primary care may be the fear of ending up at the General Medical Council should something go wrong.

Other reasons are pressures of time, training and administrative workloads.

In my opinion, the answer lies in training doctors in a working knowledge of the main complementary therapies and the mindbody- spirit connection and in a re-organisation of the primary healthcare system, so doctors are not snowed under with administrative work.

They can then put more time into developing a holistic practice, spending quality time with their own families and developing greater partnerships of patient-doctor groups to support each other.

In my efforts to promote this healthy change in Integrated Holistic Medicine, our first conference for GPs will be on October 6, when GPs will have the opportunity to learn about the well-established mainstream complementary medicine models like Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, osteopathy and acupuncture and how we can integrate them safely and effectively in our practices.

Learning to work in multidisciplinary teams will pave the way to a healthier care system for all.

But above all, teaching people self-help will empower individuals not to be so dependent on pills and doctors for their health and treatment.