The UN focuses on Universal Energy as part of a CAM conference.

HCM CITY — The benefits of complementary and alternative medicine in serving public health were highlighted by local experts at a conference held in HCM City on Wednesday.

At the conference held by the UNESCO Centre for Public Health, they said this branch of medicine, a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine, gave patients more health care choices.

Alternative medicine had also become popular in industrially advanced countries including the US, they noted.

Professor Nguyen Tan Si of the Open International University for Complementary Medicine in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, said that harmful side-effects and high costs were some of the weaknesses of western medicine.

Moreover, western medicine could not treat all illnesses, he said, adding that nearly 80 per cent of diseases did not have a cure under this system. It had also not been able to find the cause for 21 diseases, he said.

He said because of all these reasons, complementary and alternative medicine has attracted a lot of people since 2000.

The therapies of complementary and alternative medicine include acupuncture, ayurveda, biofeedback, chelation therapy, deep breathing exercises and diet-based therapies, Si said.

A survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the US found 74.6 per cent of its residents used complementary and alternative medicine therapies and 54.9 per cent used it in conjunction with western medicine.

Most of them use the complementary and alternative medicine to treat and prevent problems involving their joints.

Another study conducted by the Health Forum under the American Hospitals Association also showed that many hospitals in the US are providing complementary and alternative medicine therapies to meet patients’ demands.

In 2008, 37 per cent of hospitals in the US used these therapies, an increase of 26.5 per cent over 2005.

Complementary and alternative medicine has been applied widely in Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Australia, the conference heard.

According to Si, it would be beneficial for Viet Nam, which imports a large number of drugs and has the problem of overloading at all major hospitals, to apply and develop these alternative therapies.

Experts at the conference also noted that "Universal Energy," one of the complementary and alternative medicine therapies, has also been applied in other fields including agriculture in Viet Nam in order to limit the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides to protect farmers’ health as well as the natural environment. — VNS

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