The International Institute of Psychosomatic Medicine

Submission

Page last updated: 15 May 2013

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Dear Sirs

Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies

Response to your Invitation to the I.I.P.M. Calling for a Submission

1. Prolegomenon:

1.1 Contemporary and informed opinion seems to have little doubt that stress is linked in several ways to disease and dysfunctions in humans [1]. It may therefore seem logical that if the stressors can be dealt with by the individual recipient, then better health might result. The human immune system holds the key to many disorders, and has been shown to be influenced by stress.

1.2 The International Institute of Psychosomatic Medicine, [the I.I.P.M.], promotes natural therapies, and fosters unique ideas in the Seehealth™ philosophy, one of which is the important concept to differentiate “distress” and “stress”, as major causative contributors to human unwellness.

“Incoming Distress”, [ID], refers to events, which in themselves have no destructive elements, but which, if undefended, can become “stress” within the mind or body of the recipient individual. The need to look at mental and physical aspects of disease in an holistic manner, is increasingly becoming recognised.
The I.I.P.M. thinks that simplicity is a fundamental part of the approach to the subject, and therefore believes that after all diagnosis distress should be treated initially, and then medicate whatever remains.

1.3 Globally, Very little funding seems to have been applied to research in inter-personal natural therapies by State agencies or other bodies. There is little incentive to do so since there is, in general, small profit to be made from interactive or personally delivered therapies and/or simple, cheap remedies.
There are added complications attached to research into natural therapies. For example, in a situation where patients [subjects], have the opportunity to source diagnosis and treatments at varying stages of a disorder, prior to joining a study.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that in a cross-sectional study by questionnaire of cancer patients using homeopathy compared with those in conventional care,[2], it was found that quality of life, in addition to anxiety, depression and fatigue were found to be similar in both the cohorts of study participants.

1.4 At first sight, health insurers should be very interested in funding measures which tend to maintain good health for their clients.

2. Submission in response:

2.1 Current Seehealth™ philosophy is aimed at prevention of human disorders, by teaching a method of defence against incoming distress to human lives, which in turn prevents the potential for stress. This is an approach to unwellness which is safe, simple, systematic, efficient and economic. The delivery of the elements of the philosophy is done by a qualified presenter, on a regular schedule – once per calendar month – to a group of people who wish to remain free of unwellness.
This pilot endeavour is now in its sixth year of application in western NSW, and appears to be proving its worth. The group is self-owned, incorporated as a not-for-profit body, and is self-funded.
In order for us to prove the worth of this approach, in strictly “evidence-based” terms, might involve perhaps 5,000 subjects, all being members of a similar group, for six years, and surveying their outcomes in terms of relative wellness. The funding of such a study would run into millions, and would probably be unattractive and offer no ultimate profit to a multli-national.

2.2 Within medical centres and hospitals in NSW, the elements contained in the Seehealth™ ideas, in a slightly different form, have been successfully used since 1998 in the treatment of disorders such as depression, PTSD, IBS, and several phobic problems. Certain health funds, in addition to Workcover NSW, approved this therapy for their members under the heading of “psychotherapy”, or “Psychosomatic Therapy”.

“Psychosomatic therapy” is defined as the branch of medicine concerned with the interrelationships between mental and emotional reactions and somatic processes, in particular, the manner in which intrapsychic conflicts influence physical symptoms. It maintains that the mind and body are one inseparable entity, and that both physiologic and psychologic techniques should be applied in the study and treatment of illness.
The view of the I.I.P.M. in this context is that in any diagnosis, there should be An equal consideration of what is happening in the mind, as well as in the body of the patient.

2.3 There were conducted two studies in 2001 and 2002,[3], which underpin the usefulness and potential gain of this approach to therapy.

The study relating to tobacco use and abstention, demonstrated that its success rate after 12 months abstention, was significantly [approx 100%], more effective than a drug, [buproprion hydrochloride], being offered under Medicare for the purpose. [The outcomes were offered to the appropriate Australian Medicare authority for equal consideration, but were rejected].

In the case of the Parkinson’s Disease study, the link between undefended distress and the disease was clear.

2.4 The concept that stress is a significant causative agent in unwellness of many kinds is growing apace, illustrated by the numbers of studies demonstrating this factor. However, there seems to be missing a sensible, safe, economic and easily acceptable method for the individual to defend themselves against the ravages of Incoming Distress, [ID].

2.5 The I.I.P.M. in this submission centres its proposition upon the demonstrated need to source systems for individuals to constantly and successfully defend against the increasing levels of ID being generated by contemporary society, and limit the effects of stress to their minds and bodies.

This proposal ought to be of interest to any body responsible for funding the outcomes of unwellness. This view is supported by the effort made by your department and some health insurance funds, to encourage people to change their lifestyle choices, towards better health outcomes.

Several interested bodies, including State and Federal health departments, have begun to market the ideas connected with a stress-free lifestyle. This is a worthwhile endeavour, but lacks a proven antidote to the ID experienced by all humans. There is little point in encouraging people to “relax”, “don’t let problems worry you”, “live in the present”, and so on, unless a simple, safe, effective and economic method to ameliorate ID and prevent it becoming stress, can be offered.

We believe that this is exactly what we have to offer.

3. Conclusion:

Some believe that the pharmacist’s response to absolute certainty that stress is a causative agent in human disorders, would be to offer a preventative and relaxative molecule; “The Happy Pill”. As a short-term solution this may have value, however, since the agent of stress, the ID, might remain, then the individual would have to be maintained in continual pharmaceutical haze, costly for us all, and counter-productive for the term and quality of the life of that individual.

The I.I.P.M. maintains that the natural, safe, systematic, effective and economic alternative would be preferable, and therefore any measure to promote this idea, and make it available to anyone wishing to use it ought to be highly desirable.

References:

1. Several recent review articles, both qualitative (Kiecolt-Glaser & Glaser, 1988b;O’Leary, 1990; Weiss, 1992) and quantitative (Herbert & Cohen, 1993a, 1993b),
A biobehavioral model of cancer stress and disease course. Andersen, Barbara L.; Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K.; Glaser, Ronald American Psychologist, Vol 49(5), May 1994, 389-404. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.49.5.389
Carnegie Mellon University (2007, October 10). Stress Contributes To Range Of Chronic Diseases, Review Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2007/10/071009164122.htm
Penn State (2012, November 2). Reactions to everyday stressors predict future health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2012/11/121102205143.htm
Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. Reiche EM, Nunes SO, Morimoto HK. Source Department of Pathology, Clinical Analysis and Toxicology, Health Sciences Centre, State University of Londrina, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil. reiche@sercomtel.com.br <reiche@sercomtel.com.br>

2. Ann Oncol (2010) 21 (5): 1094-1099. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp421
3. AJH&H Vol22 No2 Sept 2001 “Management of Tobacco Smoking Employing Psychosomatic Techniques”
AJH&H Vol 23 No1 March 2002 “Identification of the Role of Distress and Personality in the onset and prevention of Parkinson’s Disease”

For the IIPM

Brian Magrath
Director