EPA Newsletter October 2015
Australia and UK/EU EPA Conferences 2015
The Australian EPA conference was held at Converys Lane on 12th July 2015.
A short summary of the Australian EPA conference:
Levels of illness and disease are growing at alarming rates. This is a worldwide trend, impacting every single country. Healthcare systems are operating beyond their capacity to cope, crippled not just by the numbers of unwell people but the ever-rising costs that arise from treating each one of those individuals. Healthcare policymaking has to date been reactive and has substantially failed to address the burgeoning problems in any effective way. Policy makers have attempted to control costs through limitation of access to certain services (for example vitamin D blood testing) or restrictions of consultation time, placing doctors under inordinate levels of strain, whilst compromising their capacity to make thorough diagnoses. Are EPA members aware of these problems? Are we engaged and active in our communities and the state of the world, or perhaps snoozing and insular, or even comfortably cocooned imagining that the growing medical crisis is not our problem?
The international EPA conferences this year have been a huge wake up call for members to the big picture and all our part in this. Where are we at with appreciating the EPA accredited modalities? And have we considered their crucial place in a world that is desperately seeking answers to a problem that the current system offers no answers for?
One member summarised the 2015 Australian conference in essence as "being like an alarm clock going off to the big picture at play and discovering you've overslept - perhaps by a few hundred years". The conference was a call to action for all members.
The wake-up call came from several angles, starting with an eye opening Health Report card on Humanity – just how chronic things are and rapidly worsening – and an add on as to why something like this can be presented and we remain complacent in our chairs? We will offer a snapshot on a specific medical condition with each issue. Rates of these conditions and their changes over time will be reported. The focus in this edition is asthma, a serious respiratory illness.
The purpose of research was shared, along with the ease with which a simple project can be structured. The call for a broader research base was delivered by a summary of the political scenery for Health Care - in particular the push by 'sceptics' such as the organisation and political lobby group Friends of Science in Medicine for 'evidence-based' medicine to be the only medicine available in the community. As such they have placed all alternative and complementary into a single box deemed to be “non- evidence based”, or in their words “pseudoscientific” hence dangerous and misleading. More on this will be delivered in our report in this issue.
A question to reflect on – how on earth can we be so precariously close to losing the freedom to practice the EPA accredited modalities – and yet so many of us have never even heard of the 'sceptics' and have no clue about the level of control they are exerting over the provision of health services? Not only do their activities threaten our capacity to practice, they are similarly controlling what medical doctors can and cannot do. They are doing so with political blessings as their moves promise to deliver unrealistic treatment outcomes and cut costs.
The call to communicate and act was NOW and initiatives were born, and have since been activated, such as:
A Case Study Initiative (CSI), and a broader research base is also on its way.
A re-enlivened and global newsletter.
The EPA Teamwork platform (similar to Basecamp) is up and running as a communication platform for all EPA members. (See end of newsletter for registration details)
This really is our EPA – we make it what it is. Are we appreciating what we have and its place in the world? Time to take stock – to appreciate – to take action and engage.
The UK/EU EPA conference was held at the Sound Foundation in Frome, Somerset on Sunday 30th August.
A short summary of the UK/EU conference:
As either a full time practitioner of the Esoteric modalities or a practitioner of the Way of the Livingness in any field of employment, how does research touch your life? It may be a shocking statistic that you come across in the newspaper which makes you stop during your day, or you may be actively engaged in conducting research for a specific purpose, be that medical research, setting sales targets, or customer satisfaction. There is no denying that we live in a world that is filled with statistics and research.
As Students of the Livingness, Serge Benhayon has been presenting us with the fact that we are a living science, and the modalities presented by him are expressions of this science. Recent initiatives such as the Case Study Initiative have brought home the importance of research in demonstrating how this living science can have profound changes in our lives.
The recent 2015 UK/EU EPA Conference focused on the importance of research, demonstrating to over 100 EPA members the simplicity of how surveys and research can be used to demonstrate the deep appreciation that we all hold for the Esoteric Therapies and what they mean for humanity.
The essence of research is stories. It is telling our personal story of healing and the story of the Esoteric in the world. By participating in research and case studies we are presenting these stories in a way that cannot be ignored or brushed aside. Research lends credibility to the modalities in the current medical climate that is calling for evidence before it places trust in any given therapy. An evidence base establishes the efficacy in a way that cannot easily be refuted or dismissed. The more we engage in such projects the more solid is the base we build, and the less our stunning outcomes can be ignored or overlooked.
Engaging with research can often bring up pictures of grant applications, requirements to wear lab coats, and complicated graphs and charts. While the EPA is getting involved with research in this more traditional setting (minus the lab coats), research need not be this. Two simple ways that anyone can apply research to their practice is to:
Conduct an audit. This is done by taking a recognised set of standards, applying them to your practice, and evaluating how well the standards are met. For example, national nursing standards, etc.
Carry out a service evaluation/review. This is done by measuring a client's state at the start and end of a period of time and evaluating the change after the application of a service or therapy. These are common surveys which ask, for example, 'how often do you experience pain?' and measuring whether there is a change after doing a program with them.
The service evaluation is an easy and very effective way to begin gathering data on the changes that esoteric modalities can bring to a person’s life. There are several trial initiatives currently underway within the UK and Australian EPA which use service evaluation as a way to measure the change in participants, and that have been initiated by practitioners and non- hands on practitioners alike.
All it takes to begin, is a question. A simple, ‘I wonder…’, is all the seed that is required to start. To grow this seed the support is there in the form of the Universal Medicine Research Council (UMRC) and other EPA members who have been involved in research.
To register for the Case Study Initiative click here - http://goo.gl/forms/IdFhXmVq2v
Evidence-Based Medicine, Sceptics and the EPA
The 2015 EPA conference described some of the crucial issues facing all healthcare practitioners, a major one being the emergence of evidence-based medicine as one of the strongest forces controlling the direction that all healthcare is taking today.
In the most simple of terms, “evidence-based medicine” requires that a medical technique or service has a body of scientific evidence of a very particular designated standard behind it, indicating that it has efficacy and does what it claims to do. The demand for an evidence base has been applied to medicine for some time now, with the requirements for compliance becoming more stringent in recent years – in theory anyway.
Control of medical services is exercised through the restriction of funding rebates for services that are deemed to lack substantial evidence. We may wonder what this has to do with complementary practitioners. The answer to that is ‘a lot’. The demand for evidence is now being extended to incorporate complementary and alternative modalities, with moves afoot to actually make it impossible/illegal to provide healthcare services that do not have an evidence base.
The potential effects of this are alarming. There are many problems associated with evidence-based medicine. We could dedicate pages to the multitude of inadequacies and issues that are endemic to it. One of the chief problems, relevant to us as practitioners, is the type of evidence that is demanded for a modality to be deemed effective. The ‘gold-standard’ for quality evidence is the double blind, randomised controlled trial. These are complicated, expensive and very difficult to run outside of the University system. They are fraught with problems – perhaps more can be said about this at another time…
Non-randomised and non-blinded trials (trials in which the person knows they are receiving treatment) carry less weight. Anecdotal evidence – the evidence of human experience – is taken the least seriously by the pundits of this system. The interesting fact is that most clinicians, medical and complementary alike, take anecdotal evidence most seriously, and in fact their years of experience build a inner ‘library’ of anecdotal evidence that they call on every single day in their work.
The strongest pundits behind this push, world wide, are groups of sceptics.
This term once referred to a person who is inclined to doubt or question commonly accepted beliefs and opinions. Sceptics are no longer inclined to doubt or question; the current generation have become vociferously opposed to anything that they regard as counter to “good science”. They have appointed themselves the role of guardians who determine the quality of science, and hence not only its value, but its right to expression in the public domain.
Sceptics also label science as “bad” or “pseudo” (false) if it does not fall within the narrow parameters that they have set for acceptability. Not only is the science they disapprove of labelled false, it is now being deemed a manipulation designed to fool gullible consumers and a menace to public health and safety.
Sceptics have been very astute politically, having applied themselves to the building of relationships with key members of parliament, at state and federal levels in Australia, the UK, and EU, presenting their views as the only ones that are sane, reasonable and rational, hence worth funding.
These manoeuvrings are important for us to understand, as there are sceptic-based organisations such as Friends in Science in Medicine in Australia, and Healthwatch in the United Kingdom that have been working behind the scenes, for many years now, to dominate the healthcare landscape. They are seeking not just to manipulate the entire field of medicine and the way it is practiced but also to eliminate anything that they deem to be ‘pseudoscience’ or lacking what they refer to as a rational basis.
Friends of Science in Medicine are lobbying government to have complementary therapies removed from University campuses, stating that complementary modalities should only be allowed to enter the Universities when they have an established evidence base. The irony is that it is virtually impossible to gather such a base outside the university system. This will impact on all complementary modalities, and we are no exception.
If this push were to come to fruition it would be extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to practice our EPA accredited modalities.
As a body of professional complimentary practitioners and practitioners of the livingness, where to from here? Our response to this political pressure is very simple. We establish our own evidence base with no drive for specific outcomes. We start with a solid foundation of anecdotal evidence in the form of cases studies, supported by surveys as discussed in both conferences.
These case studies lay a very solid footprint because they are based on the extraordinary effectiveness of the modalities and the quality of the lives we live. From this point we establish simple non-blinded clinical trials. In time, there may be scope for double-blinded, randomised controlled trials, but only if there is a need.
We know that the modalities are extraordinarily effective; that is very clear to us all. That clarity needs to be communicated with the world at large. It is through simple research that we get the message across, and in doing so show that the therapies accredited by the EPA are not only highly effective, they are affordable and have no side effects.
This is about changing the face of the healthcare landscape, and making it about care without control.
The Illness and Disease Report – Asthma and its impact on communities
The vast majority of people in our communities are not well. Although modern medicine is providing very good solutions, the number of people experiencing at least one condition or disease is on the rise.
In this segment we provide a ‘snapshot’ of the disease rates in such a way that those vast numbers mean something to us. With each issue we will provide simple statistical data about an illness or disease and its impacts. In this issue we will look at asthma.
Far from a trivial disease, asthma causes significant impairment to the quality of life of its sufferers. Severe asthma requires medication with corticosteroids; medications with many serious side effects. Attacks of asthma can lead to death.
All asthma sufferers require a care plan to be drawn up by their GP, it is too unpredictable to be managed without good medical support.
The statistics on Asthma
5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma
1,100,000 children (1 in 11) and 4,300,000 adults (1 in 12).
Think of eleven children or twelve adults you know, and according to this, one of each group will have asthma. That number represents 8.5% of the total population of children and adults. That number is greater than the entire population of the city of Manchester.
Asthma prevalence is thought to have plateaued since the late 1990s, although the UK still has some of the highest rates in Europe, and on average 3 people a day die from asthma.
The NHS spends around £1 billion a year treating and caring for people with asthma.
In 2008/09 up to 1,100,000 working days were lost due to breathing or lung problems. (1)
In Australia, there are indications that the prevalence of asthma is decreasing. In spite of this slow decline, Australia still has the highest rates for this disease in the world.
The number of adults and children affected in the period 2007-2008 was 2,049,086. This number represents close to 10% of the total Australian population. It is close to half of the current population of the city of Melbourne.
More women than men experience asthma over the age of 15 years, and one child in six under the age of 16 is affected. Most of us could easily name 6 children we know, so to consider that one out of that 6 could be affected by this condition is alarming.
Four hundred Australians die each year as a result of this condition. (2)
The cost of treating asthma in the years 2007-8 was $65,000,000. The cost of medications accounted for half of this figure. It is the leading cause of absenteeism from work and school. (3)
In Germany, there are an estimated 4 million asthmatics, and that is four times the entire population of the city of Cologne.
In Western Europe as a whole, asthma has doubled in ten years, according to the UCB Institute of Allergy in Belgium. (4)
Membership snapshot – where are our members?
As the EPA is a world leading organisation supporting professional practice within any industry why not start the conversation with those whom you feel may be interested in joining, the EPA email addresses for registration are listed below.
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EPA Members Teamwork platform
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To register your details to be added to the EPA Teamwork platform click this link to complete the registration form (link to - http://goo.gl/forms/69BDml17Bd).
For those new to the platform, training manuals are available now on the EPA TW Training project, short support videos are ready and will be announced shortly, and coming in November – two whole EPA TW training meetings - dates and details to be announced on TW.
Research – Universal Medicine Research Council
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Health and Lifestyle Statistics
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