Reiki, acupuncture fail to get official nod

The Hindu (India), May 17, 2003
By P.Sunderarajan

NEW DELHI May 16. There is some disappointing news for the practitioners of alternative systems of medicine like reiki, acupuncture, magnetotherapy, pranic healing, hypnotherapy, colour therapy, aroma therapy, music therapy, reflexology, gems and stone therapy, electropathy, electro-homeopathy, urine therapy and auto-urine therapy.

The Centre has formally rejected pleas to include them also under the official list of indigenous systems of medicine.

The list now covers ayurveda, siddha, unani, homeopathy, yoga and naturopathy and unani and there is a separate department under the Union Health Ministry that seeks to protect and nurture them.

The rejection comes in the wake of a case filed in the Delhi High Court in 1998. On a direction given by the Court, the Centre had set up a high-level committee of experts headed by the Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research to examine the merits of various streams of alternative medicines.

While the case pertained specifically to electropathy and electro-homeopathy, the panel had looked into other systems also and come to the conclusion that no system other than those which were already recognised could be approved on the ground that they did not satisfy even some of the basic requirements.

The panel’s conclusion has now got the seal of official endorsement, with the Union Health Minister, Sushma Swaraj, giving her approval.

For the review, the panel had set out a list of five essential criteria: the system should have its own fundamental principles of health and disease, with a comprehensive system of health care and not restricted to a few diseases only; it should have substantial literature on concepts, aetiology, diagnosis and management of diseases like textbooks, including pharmacopoeia and formularies; it should be recognised in the country of its origin or in any other country, where it was currently practised; it should have documented information on the uniqueness of modalities of treatment may it be drug, devices or any other method such as diet, massage, and exercise; and it should have standardised methods of preparation of drugs/ devices, with clear-cut quality control procedures.

An outcome of the decision is that institutions which presently offer bachelors and master’s degree courses in these systems would have to fold up and those who practise them cannot use the term `doctor’ as a prefix to their name.

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