I was giddy with excitement at last nights 'Third Metric' event hosted by the Huff Post and the rather fabulous Arianna Huffington. I'd been invited on the premise that it was something to do with health but I wasn't quite prepared for what I was about to hear.
Alternative health, including therapies such as homeopathy, naturopathy and kinesiology has often been considered flaky and new age, sitting on the fringes of society. So when I made the decision to jack in my well-paid marketing job to do some strange unknown therapy called Kinesiology, my family were a little bemused. My mother struggled to pronounce my new chosen profession and my father informed me that 'Kinesiology' isn't even in the dictionary.
But as I sat there in this audience of senior executives and business entrepreneurs listening to a panel of CEOs, Managing Directors talking about the importance of meditation, yoga, time out and stress relief, I had the feeling that opinions are changing and now is the time for alternative health to step up and be counted.
When I gave up my stressful career in the city to start a wellness business I was unknowingly creating my own 'Third Metric'. Up to that point I had been working towards the first two metrics - money and power but I was sacrificing the third, wellbeing. As Arianna described it 'like a stool with three legs, if you are missing wellbeing the stool will eventually topple over'.
So how can Alternative Health step up to stabilise this wobbly stool?
There is the big question of credibility. How does alternative medicine become recognised as a credible form of healthcare?
- Alternative health therapies will need to be professionally registered with organisations such as the PSA. This involves jumping through a lot of hoops with loads of red tape and paperwork but it is necessary to have standards in place to create the safety and quality needed to work with the NHS.
- Our medical profession and the general public trust results. Therefore we, the alternative health community, need to increase our research and clinical trials to offer proof that our therapies do in fact work in reducing stress, illness and disease.
- Alternative health education is largely taught part time at diploma level. But we now have degrees in Nutrition at London and Chiropractic at Bournemouth and if alternative health moves into the mainstream I hope to see more degrees available in holistic disciplines
- We need to be open to self-criticism and be clear what alternative health can and can't do. I certainly wouldn't want to see a flower remedy practitioner if I broke my leg but then I wouldn't want to go to my GP for Irritable Bowel Syndrome either. I truly believe that healthcare in this country needs to be inclusive of all therapies and medicines if it's going to tackle the enormous health crisis in this country.
This is work in progress and we are a way off from being part of mainstream healthcare. But these are exciting times. And there is a revolution coming; a new health wave is on the horizon and I for one have my surfboard at the ready.