Australian government says that yoga, naturopathy and Pilates will not benefit your health, bans private health insurance rebates
(NaturalHealth365) The Australian government has just launched another salvo in the battle against natural medicine worldwide. While a whopping 80 percent of all Australians currently use some form of natural treatments – including yoga, Pilates and naturopathy – to improve health, the government ruled last month that Australian consumers will no longer be able to claim rebates for those services from private insurers.
These natural therapies are now prohibited by the federal government from being funded – due to a “lack of scientific evidence.” Are these people clueless or what?!
Although the ban is touted as a way to cut costs of private health insurance, Australian natural health experts say it won’t lead to any financial benefit – and may have devastating effects.
Stunning: Australian government ban involves 16 different natural, drug-free therapies
The ban includes yoga, which encourages breath control and meditation – and improves flexibility, balance and strength.
Also included are Pilates – an exercise system influenced by yoga, calisthenics and dance – and tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art that emphasizes slow, controlled movements and deep breathing.
Also banned are homeopathy – which uses infinitesimal amounts of natural substances to stimulate a healing response – reflexology (therapeutic foot massage), shiatsu (a form of massage based on Traditional Chinese Medicine) and aromatherapy, the use of essential oils and plant extracts.
Iridology, Rolfing, kinesiology, the Alexander Technique and Bowen therapy will no longer be covered, either, nor will “Western herbalism,” defined as encompassing the herbal traditions of Europe and the Americas.
And – perhaps most infuriating and confusing of all – “naturopathy” is included in the decision.
Naturopathic medicine is an entire healing system based on the concept that diseases can be treated without the use of drugs, with an emphasis is on stimulating the body to heal itself. Using the blanket term “naturopathy” means that a wide range of therapies could therefore be ineligible for rebates.
In fact, whether a consumer can claim a rebate or not may come down to semantics.
For example, “remedial massage” gets the thumbs-up when it comes to getting a rebate – but not “massage using shiatsu techniques.” “Physiotherapy utilizing a Pilates technique” would be accepted — “Pilates,” as a therapy, is not.
There is no apparent justification for the decision – financial or otherwise
The group Friends of Science and Medicine, which says it supports evidence-based medicine, has lobbied the Australian government for the past seven years to stop subsidizing treatments deemed “ineffective” by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Banning the natural treatments, says a spokesperson, is “important in using precious health dollars wisely. “
But Private Healthcare Australia has gone on record as acknowledging the ban would, in reality, have a “very minimal” impact on premium costs.
In fact, a spokeswoman at PHA said there are no plans to reduce private health insurance premiums at this time.
An executive at PHA said the decision to stop rebates on natural therapies was reached after consultation with stakeholders, which included doctors’ groups and the insurance industry.
Gee, I wonder, could these ‘experts’ have a vested interest in keeping consumers sick?
Physician: Decision will have “devastating” consequences
Kerryn Phelps, G.P., an Australian medical doctor and politician, has lambasted the decision to prohibit natural therapies. In addition to predicting that it will cause harm to consumers and discourage medical research, Dr. Phelps takes issue with it as a means to save money.
In fact, she maintains, complementary medicines being supported by private health insurance could actually lead to savings – not increases – in public expenditure.
According to ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News, Dr. Phelps has written a letter to Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt, requesting that at least some of the therapies – including yoga, tai chi, Western herbalism and naturopathy – be removed from the “banned” list.
Decision spurred by inadequate research
Many natural health experts say that the review that preceded the decision was flawed. In arriving at the decision, the NHMRC used no studies conducted after 2014.
Hence, the last 5 years of research on natural therapies – that may have shown substantial benefits – have been ignored. Proponents of natural healing insist that there are real benefits to the techniques – as well as good evidence.
They point out that yoga, herbal medicines and tai chi are often included in international treatment guidelines – and endorsed by the World Health Organization, which supports traditional and complementary medicine in its mission statement.
Natural medicine also under attack in Spain
It is not only Australia that is discouraging the use of natural therapies.
The Spanish government has recently taken steps to ban “natural medicine” from health centers on a national level.
The proposed ban will include acupuncture – an ancient and revered system that has brought relief to countless millions since its inception 2,000 years ago – and homeopathy, a system of healing that has been in use for several centuries.
The Spanish government is going even farther than the Australian government – with plans afoot to prevent Spanish universities from teaching alternative medicine, or from awarding diplomas in the field.
Observers say that this governmental action is in response to the highly publicized deaths of several cancer patients, who made the decision to stop standard treatment entirely and pursue only alternative therapies.
Of course, most natural healers maintain that naturopathic techniques are to be used as a complementary form, in conjunction and cooperation with standard medical care.
Undeniable truth: Governments are trying to discourage and suppress natural healing
Natural health experts the world over are concerned that these moves by the Australian and Spanish governments represent the latest attempts to tighten the stranglehold of the conglomeration of pharmaceutical giants, otherwise known as ‘Big Pharma.’
Here in the U.S., we have the government trying to censor all vaccine information that represents vaccines as anything other than “safe and effective” – with state-by-state attempts to eliminate vaccine exemptions.
In fact, many fear that the pharmaceutical giants will stop at nothing until all knowledge of natural medicine is wiped away – and every person is taking multiple pharmaceutical drugs.
Speaking of pharmaceutical drugs: overdoses involving prescription opiates claimed 46 lives a day in 2016 alone, according to the National Study on Drug Use and Health.
Of course, not all natural health and alternative therapies are safe – or effective. Just as in conventional medicine, there may be practitioners who are dishonest, careless, incompetent and greedy. So, caution and common sense must prevail.
But, to claim that alternative treatments ‘lack evidence of efficacy’ is to deny a vast body of research. After all, even the most cursory search of PubMed yields studies on the efficacy of natural substances.
To name only a few examples: clinical studies support medical-grade honey’s ability to outperform the pharmaceutical medication sulfadiazine when it comes to promoting the healing of partial-thickness burns, while the amino acid N-acetyl cysteine is so effective in treating liver failure from acetaminophen overdose that it is the standard of care in hospitals.
We must strive to keep naturopathic medicine available – and this we can do by continuing to share lifesaving information with our friends and family.
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