International Health News

Alternative Health Care in New Zealand

by Hans R. Larsen, MSc ChE

Hans LarsenAlternative health care is alive and well in New Zealand. It is estimated that over 33 per cent of the population there now use alternative practitioners to treat their illnesses.

The alternative health care professions are governed by a recognized, self-regulating organization called the "New Zealand Charter of Health Practitioners". The existence of the Charter ensures the right of alternative practitioners to practice and prescribe natural remedies without fear of prosecution by the government. The New Zealand Charter of Health Practitioners is an umbrella organization for 55 different associations of alternative health care providers.

The alternative health care movement recently fought off a challenge by the Ministry of Health to make a third of all currently used natural remedies into prescription medicines. After receiving an avalanche of over 700 written submissions and petitions with more than 8,000 signatures, the government backed off and it now looks like natural remedies will be included under the Medicines Act as a separate category called "Dietary Supplements". Dietary supplements would be freely available and it would be possible to make substantiated claims for efficacy - somewhat similar to the approach taken in the United States where the Dietary Supplement Bill now has been approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Natural therapy clinics are a common feature in New Zealand and many of them are operated on a cooperative basis between medical doctors and naturopaths.

The Centre for Advanced Medicine in Auckland has a client base in excess of 15,000 people. This facility specializes in chelation therapy which, in New Zealand, is considered a very effective treatment for atherosclerosis. The progress of the treatment is monitored through the use of sophisticated infrared imaging equipment. The Centre for Advanced Medicine also provides non-conventional cancer treatment, enzyme assays and chiropracty, and is involved in some very interesting research into the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

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Another alternative health clinic north of Auckland offers a 21-day residential program for patients with degenerative diseases such as cancer and arthritis. Their highly successful therapy includes lifestyle adjustments, a diet based on biodynamically grown produce and extensive use of meditation, visualization techniques, etc.

The clinic is particularly well known for its treatment of skin cancer. It uses a proprietary, patented herbal ointment which has proven to be 100 per cent effective in the treatment of both basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and even some types of melanoma. The ointment is applied directly to the tumor and covered with an appropriate bandage (artificial skin). After about three weeks the skin tumor sloughs off and an ordinary cancer-free wound is left which heals on its own without a scar. The ointment has been used for almost 15 years now and does not increase the danger of metastasis as does some surgical removal techniques.

The use of alternative cancer therapies is accelerating rapidly in New Zealand as there is a growing realization, even among conventional doctors, that the use of chemotherapy and radiation to treat cancer is counterproductive. These treatments seriously weaken the immune system precisely at the time when it needs to be at its strongest.

New Zealand naturopaths use many interesting and very effective techniques for diagnosing and treating disease. Homeopathy and the use of homeobotanicals is growing and there are now seven colleges in New Zealand teaching homeopathy. There are also two major and several smaller naturopathic colleges in New Zealand.

A very widely used diagnostic and therapeutic modality is "Electroacupuncture According to Voll" (EAV). There are now more than 30 practitioners in New Zealand (several medical doctors are among them) who use EAV to diagnose and treat their patients.

EAV works by measuring the electrical resistance at acupunture points corresponding to specific organs. A lower than normal resistance indicates a degeneration in the function of the organ while a higher than normal resistance indicates a hyperactive organ most likely fighting an inflammation. By inserting vials containing a host of different disease-causing substances (in homeopathic strengths) into the measuring circuit of the EAV equipment the practitioner can also determine what particular substance is causing the problem.

One EAV clinic just outside Auckland has found that many patients suffer from problems with their endocrine glands caused by excessive exposure to paints, pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals. Overexposure to electromagnetic radiation from computers and overhead powerlines is also a common cause of either a hyperactive or a degenerating endocrine system.

The alternative health scene in New Zealand is dynamic and highly progressive. More and more New Zealanders are realizing that conventional western medicine does not have all the answers and, as a result, are doing two things - taking a greater degree of responsibility for their own health, and seeking out alternative therapies.

This article was first published in the April 1995 issue of International Health News


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