BBC News report, 5 October 2005

Charles study backs NHS therapies  
Complementary therapies should be given a greater role in the NHS, a report commissioned by the Prince of Wales has said.
The report, by economist Christopher Smallwood, said patients with conditions such as back pain and stress can benefit from some of the therapies.

However, there is a shortage of treatments such as acupuncture and osteopathy in poorer areas.

The report does not say wider use would bring huge NHS savings.

By commissioning this report the Prince hoped to further encourage an informed debate.

Clarence House spokeswoman

The report covers the 'Big Five' complementary and alternative therapies - osteopathy and chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal medicine.

Millions of people use complementary therapies in the UK, and demand is growing. About half of GPs now provide some kind of access to such treatments.

Osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture can aid those with conditions such as back pain, the report concluded.

Herbal medicines were found to help people with conditions including arthritis, colds, depression and heart and circulatory problems.

But the report found the benefits of homeopathy - a therapy which works on the principle of treating like with like - are more questionable.

The report says that, as back pain alone accounts for 200 million lost days from work each year, costing