Introduction to the achievement standard
and requirements for assessment
Available resources list
An introduction to holistic medicine
and clinical/medical research
An introduction to CAM and TM: A selection
Treating health conditions with CAM,
TM, Western Medicine
Assessment: General Instructions sheet
and resource list
The Chinese Traditional Medicine symbol ‘yin and yang’ and the Western Scientific emblem ‘caduceus”
Contemporary Health Practices in New Zealand
This achievement standard involves identifying and describing a range of health practices in
contemporary New Zealand society, and examining the advantages and disadvantages of
these. 5 internal credits. A written (resource-based) test.
Achievement Achievement with Merit Achievement with Excellence
• Explain a range of health • Explain in-depth a range of • Explain, comprehensively, a
practices currently used in NZ health practices currently range of health practices
used in NZ currently used in NZ
• Explain the advantages and • Compare the advantages • Compare, perceptively, the
disadvantages of these and disadvantages of these advantages and disadvantages
health practices. health practices. of these health practices.
You will need to choose a health condition and three health practices that are
currently used in New Zealand to alleviate this health condition.
Western Scientific Medicine (Medical health practices) may be defined as: "The methods
of treating diseases with the application of scientific methods and logic". The focus is
largely on the physical dimension of wellbeing. EG: surgery, pharmaceutical drugs, radiation
therapy, lifestyle change.
Complementary and/or Alternative Health Practices (CAM) & Traditional Medicine (TM)
may be defined as: "The methods of treating illness that evolved from within the social,
emotional, spiritual and physical environment of a society. EG: naturopathy, homeopathy,
meditation, acupuncture, Maori (or other cultural group) medicine".
"A broad domain of healing resources that encompasses all health systems, modalities
and practices and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to
the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture. CAM includes all
such practices and ideas self-defined by their users and preventing or treating illness or
promoting health and wellbeing".
The health practices that you choose need to include at least one western practice and one
CAM or TM. You need to choose three quite different health practices. The emphasis of the
assignment is on the three health practices, not your chosen health condition. The health
condition is used to provide a context to help you answer the questions.
Information you will need to gather before the written assessment
You will need to find information about your three chosen health
practices: General information about the health practice:
-philosophy underpinning the practice
-dimensions of hauora considered in the application of each health practice
-what is involved in the application of the procedures (how it is used/works)
Information that relates your health practice to your chosen health condition: -procedures
involved in applying each practice to the condition
-the advantages and disadvantages of each health practice related to your chosen health
condition (including costs, side effects, effectiveness, impact on dimensions of hauora).
You may take in to the written assessment up to:
5 general articles about health practices/the health condition
3 articles about each of the three chosen health practices and how they are used to manage
the health condition
Before the assessment you will complete the resource form given to you to indicate what articles you
are taking in and where they came from. You will reference these during the assessment by
allocating each article a number (on the resource form) and noting that number in brackets on your
paper when you refer to it in your assessment.
only the resources mentioned on the form can be used during the assessment
you can have key ideas highlighted and coded but you cannot have any pre-written
passages that just need to be copied.
at the end of the assessment you must hand in all of the resources that you used.
- School library — including EPIC database
- Marlborough District Library - . The public library catalogue is available online:
- Health professionals in Blenheim, for interviews
- The internet
Below is a list of reputable and official websites that will contain information of use for the project. Be
careful when searching for information online because any nonofficial sites may be just someone's
NZ Complementary and Alternative Medicine website. Has some evidence-based reports on use of
different CAMs for different health conditions — eg: acupuncture for smoking cessation.
See paper titled: "Complementary and alternative medicine — current policy and policy issues in
NZ and selected countries" -2003 discussion document. There should be some new reports
coming out shortly.
The World Health Organisation. A range of information, including "WHO traditional medicine
strategy 2002-2005" (From the main webpage, type "traditional medicine" in
in the search box and this will take you to a range of articles including the one listed above.
The British Medical Journal — all articles are online and you can search by topics. A very reputable
source of information.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health website.
Journal of the American Medical Association (Limited access to resources).
The NZ medical journal (Limited access online).
USA Centre for Disease Control
National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (USA)
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Limited access)
CAM Journal online access. Evidence-based research on CAM treatment for health conditions
Health world online. Less official but easier to understand.
The Institute for Traditional Medicine (Mostly based on Chinese Medicine/herbs).
In-depth site about acupuncture. Has a useful "search this site" facility to get specific information.
American Indian Traditional Medicine website.
Christchurch College of Holistic Healing — may be some useful contacts for interviews/emails.
An introduction to complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and
Traditional Medicine (TM)
Reference: The Encyclopedia of Complementary Medicine. A. Woodham & D. Peters (1998)
HOLISTIC MEDICINE (CAM/TM)
Holistic medicine is an approach to health that aims to deal with the patient as a whole, and not
merely with physical symptoms. It takes into account the psychological state of the individual, social
and environmental factors, and spiritual factors.
According to many of the world's holistic health systems (such as naturopathy, Traditional
Chinese Medicine, homeopathy), the body has a natural tendency to strive towards equilibrium
(homeostatis, balance) — this is maintained by keeping both body and mind healthy. When
equilibrium is disrupted, holistic practitioners work on all aspects of a patient's life to promote
The Chinese symbol "yin and yang" represents the idea of equilibrium —opposing but complementary
forces, as does the Western medical emblem "caduceus".
Not all complementary therapies are inherently holistic or spiritual. Therapies such as osteopathy
and chiropractic focus on physical symptoms and are as grounded in anatomy and pathology as
Interest in complementary medicine from Western populations has grown steadily since the 1970s.
Nearly half of the Australian population is said to use at least one non-medically prescribed remedy,
with over one fifth having visited a complementary practitioner. In India, China and Africa, traditional
healing systems are in common use and may receive government backing. A 1995 survey in the British
Journal of Clinical Psychology found that many people turn to CAM because they feel that it is more
effective for their health condition than conventional medicine.
As more people turn to alternatives to conventional medicine, evidence is needed to check the
effectiveness, pros and cons of CAM/TM.
To successfully achieve in this research assignment you will need to read a variety of research articles
about your health practices as they apply to you health condition. For example: Back pain: A study of
the effectiveness of acupuncture; a study of the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
The research that you come across may be quite technical so below is some information about
medical research reports and research methods that you might come across.
A typical research report may have the following sections:
1. Abstract: This is a summary of the entire research report. It is useful to read the abstract to
check whether the research is what you are looking for.
2. Introduction: This section will outline previous research on the same topic and show the
importance of doing this current research. It will usually have the authors' hypothesis for their
3. Methods: This section will discuss how the study was carried out — how participants were selected
and how information was gathered.
4. Results: The results will be outlined and statistically analysed.
5. Discussion: The authors will sum up what they have found and compare it to other research and their
Research methods (how the research is done)
Different types of clinical trial are being used to investigate CAM, as well as conventional
medicine. Here are some methods used:
Controlled clinical trial compares at least two groups of patients:
1) Experimental group (receives treatment) 2) Control group (no treatment) Placebo controlled
trial Both groups receive treatment but the control group receives an inactive treatment — a
placebo. For a successful result, the experimental group must perform significantly better than
the control group.
Randomized controlled trial Research participants are randomly allocated to either
experimental or control group
Single-blind trial The participants do not know whether they are in the control or treatment
Double-blind trial Neither the researchers or the participants know whether each participant
is in the experimental or the control group.
Review/meta-analysis The results of a number of trials are combined to draw conclusions.
These are very useful because they combine one-off studies and can make some powerful
Glossary: Some other terms that you might come across:
BASELINE: Information gathered at the beginning of a study from which variations found in the study
are measured.. Baseline data -4 research results found when researching (these are compared to
baseline data to see whether treatment is effective).
BIAS: When a point of view prevents impartial judgment on issues relating to the subject of that
point of view. In clinical studies, bias is controlled by blinding and randomization
BLIND: A clinical trial is "Blind" if participants are unaware on whether they are in the experimental
or control group of the study
COMPARATIVE STUDY: One in which the investigative drug/treatment is compared against another
product, either active drug/treatment or placebo.
CAUSATION: An intervention/treatment is found to cause a result/reaction.
CORRELATION: A relationship between variables (this intervention is related to this result)
CLINICAL TRIAL. A clinical trial is a research study to answer specific questions about vaccines or new
therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also called medical research and
research studies) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective.
EFFICACY: (Of a drug or treatment). The maximum ability of a drug or treatment to produce a result
regardless of dosage.
HYPOTHESIS: A supposition or assumption advanced as a basis for reasoning or argument, or as a guide
to experimental investigation.
INFORMED CONSENT: Participants give consent to the research after being informed about all aspects
of the trial that might affect their participation. Crucial for ethical study.
LONGITUDINAL STUDY: Data is collected on the same subjects over a long period of time.
PLACEBO: A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials,
experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the treatment's effectiveness. In
some studies, the participants in the control group will receive a placebo instead of an active drug or
QUALITATIVE: Cannot be measured numerically eg: sex, ethnicity
QUANTITATIVE: Can be measured eg: blood pressure, weight
Treating Health conditions with CAM/TM
Below you'll find a selection of health conditions and an introduction to options for treatment with
CAM/TM and conventional medicine. You may find a health condition in this list that you wish to use
for your research. Remember you need to choose a health condition that can be treated (in NZ) by
both Western Scientific Medicine and CAM/TM. The more serious or common health conditions are
likely to yield more research and evidence to help you with your assessment.
Depression -Smoking cessation (quitting)
Cancer (could narrow this down to a certain cancer eg: breast)
Infection inflames the membranes that line the nose, sinuses, throat, resulting in a runny nose,
sneezing, sore throats, coughs, mild fever and headaches. The virus is contracted by breathing in
tiny droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.
Western Scientific Medicine: As this is a virus, there is no medicinal treatment to cure the cold, but
many pharmaceutical drugs can be used to ease the symptoms, eg: aspirin, paracetamol,
Complementary treatments focus on easing symptoms and building the immune system to
resist further infection.
Aromatherapy: Steam inhalations with essential oils such as eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree.
Massage with the same oils.
Naturopathy: Adopt a healthy diet (fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, plenty of liquids). A
soothing gargle may be advised for sore throats.
Western herbalism: Echinacea is advised to help boost the immune system. Boneset is used to
shorten the duration of the cold, garlic may be used to help fight infection.
Chinese herbalism: A stragalus root to reduce incidence and duration of colds.
The human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) invades and destroys infection-fighting T- cells in the
immune system, leaving the body open to a range of illnesses. Someone is said to have developed
acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when their immune system has been dramatically
depleted by HIV. Cancers, pneumonia and diarrhoea often develop.
Western Scientific Medicine: There is no cure, or vaccine. A combination of three powerful antiviral
drugs, including a protease inhibitor significantly lowers illness — but such drug combinations are
expensive and cause side-effects.
Acupuncture: May help alleviate symptoms and increase immune function.
Hydrotherapy: Hot baths — the virus is less active when the body temperature climbs above its
normal 37 degrees.
Naturopathy: To support the immune system, eat a prescribed diet, avoid caffeine and alcohol,
plenty of rest, exercise.
Western herbalism: Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, aloe-vera gel are recommended for their
antimicrobial properties. Herbs are given to boost immunity. -Chinese herbalism: Ginseng and herbs
that improve circulation are used.
Meditation: Learning to relax and concentrate the mind through meditation can help lower stress
levels, replenish the body's resources and refresh the spirit.
Infertility is defined as "the inability to conceive after one year or more of intercourse without
contraception". Usually there is a specific problem in either the man or the woman and in 10% of
cases no obvious reason is found. In women, infertility may be caused by hormonal problems, the
fallopian tubes or ovaries may be scarred or blocked by untreated conditions arising from
termination, STIs, use of the IUD, genetic factors, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, environmental
chemicals. Psychological factors eg: stress, fear, may also play a part.
Western Scientific Medicinal treatment may include drugs (clomiphene) to stimulate the ovaries,
surgery to clear blocked fallopian tubes, assisted reproductive technology (eg: IVF).
Aromatherapy: Relaxing essential oils such as lavender, geranium, rosemary to relieve stress.
Cinnamon, peppermint and ginger oils act as tonics to stimulate circulation.
Acupuncture: Stimulate certain points believed to improve hormone balance and increase
-Naturopathy: A healthy, balanced diet, regular exercise, a positive attitude. Avoid caffeine and
nicotine, restrict alcohol.
-Traditional Chinese Medicine: Infertility is often seen as an expression of "disharmony" associated
with an imbalance of yin and yang. Tonics may be given eg: ginseng.
As labour contractions get stronger and more regular, the cervix widens and the baby descends into
the vagina. This can be very painful.
Western Scientific Medicine: Pain relief such as nitrous oxide gas, narcotic injections and epidural
(spinal) anaesthesia. If labour is prolonged, or if there are complications, the baby may be delivered
surgically by caesarean section.
-Massage: Pressure points on the back and buttocks can be massaged to ease pains.
Osteopathy: During pregnancy, may lead to less pain during labour -Acupuncture:
Relieves pain in some women
-Western herbalism: Raspberry leaf tea is thought to tone the uterine muscles.
Relaxation and breathing: There are several techniques to overcome tension.
The persistent inability to sleep is a common problem, especially as people get older. Psychological
factors are the most common causes eg: anxiety, depression, illness, caffeine use.
Western Scientific Medicine involves addressing the cause of the insomnia, eg: counselling.
Anti-depressants may be prescribed as may be sleeping pills.
Complementary treatments often involve relaxation, or treatment of the underlying cause.
Massage: Close to bedtime may relieve anxiety and boost sleep-enhancing brain chemicals.
Aromatherapy: Lavender oil inhaled, added to a hot bath, massaged, oil burner -Western
herbalism: Gentle herbs to restore the nervous system and aid relaxation eg: valerian
Chinese herbalism: Insomnia is associated with deficiency of "qi" (life energy) in the kidney and
"heat" in the heart which drive out "shen", the power that stabilizes the mind and emotions. Herbs
such as poria, wild jujube are used.
This term is used to describe a spectrum of negative feelings that ranges from mild, temporary "blues"
to clinical depression, which is thought to affect as many as 30% of people at some stage in their lives.
Depression often has physical symptoms such as insomnia, disturbed appetite and may manifest as
drug dependency, behavioural problems or a constant feeling of dejection. Depression can strike for no
reason but triggers can include work/home stresses, relationship problems, bereavement, child birth.
Western Scientific Medicinal treatment depends on the severity of the depression — mild depression
may be eased by exercise and counselling. For severe depression, anti-depressant drugs and
counselling will be offered.
-Massage: Can help alleviate depression and boost self-esteem
-Aromatherapy: Oils such as bergamot, lavender, rose aid relaxation and lift moods. -Chinese
herbalism: Depression is associated with stagnation of liver "qi" (life energy). Herbs such as Chinese
angelica, peony, liquorice may be used.
-Western herbalism: St John's Wort has been proven in studies to alleviate depression.
-Yoga: Breathing and relaxation techniques, yoga poses.
Is a physical and psychological dependence on a substance or activity that takes over a person's life.
Addiction is particularly associated with drugs and gambling. Addicts suffer unpleasant withdrawal
symptoms if they try to give up. Neurological, social, dietary and environmental factors can work to
Western Scientific Medicinal treatment focuses on counselling and pharmaceutical aids.
This depends on the type of addiction.
-Acupuncture: The most widely accepted CAM for addiction to alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine.
Many studies have been conducted to prove efficacy.
Yoga: Helps to foster feelings of control and self-esteem.
Hypnotherapy: Alleviates anxiety and depression associated with addiction and helps addicts cope
with temptation. It is most widely accepted for nicotine addiction.
Massage: Touch is a gesture of support and massage may boost self-esteem.
Obesity is a very high proportion of body fat (BMI over 30). Is becoming a major problem in developed
countries. It is a major health risk, especially if the fat is distributed around the waist. Obesity may be
caused by a number of factors such as: overeating, lack of exercise, hormone deficiencies, psychological
conditions that result in "comfort eating" and heredity.
Western Scientific Medicine: A doctor will suggest a calorie-restricted, low fat diet, exercise. May
receive appetite suppressants, drugs such as xenical, stomach stapling.
Acupuncture: On the ear
-Naturopathy: Aim to change eating habits.
-Hypnotherapy: Improves motivation to follow a diet.
Is an intermittent (comes and goes) narrowing of the airways in the lungs that leads to shortness of breath,
coughing and wheezing. Asthma Is a common childhood problem in NZ. Triggers can include dust mites,
pollutants, tobacco smoke, diet and stress.
Western Scientific Medicine: Drugs that suppress the release of histamine (corticosteroid) or inhalers that
dilate the airways may be given.
-Acupuncture: There is some evidence to support the use of acupuncture for asthma -Yoga: Yoga breathing
and stretching postures are used to improve respiratory stamina, relax the chest muscles, expand the lungs,
raise energy levels and clam the body.
-Naturopathy: A low-allergy diet is recommended. Practitioners will test for food allergies and may
advise the removal of processed foods, artificial colouring, additives, preservatives. Fish oil supplements
may be suggested. Daily breathing exercises will also be advised.
-Hypnotherapy: Studies have shown that by helping the patient to relax and cope with an asthma
attack, hypnosis can relieve symptoms and reduce the need for asthma medication.
Cancer occurs when cells in certain tissues multiply uncontrollably. Some forms are relatively mild and
have a 100% survival rate. It most commonly affects the breasts, lungs, bowel, skin, prostate and lymph
glands. About one in three people in developed countries will develop cancer in their lifetime, although as
many of 70% of cases could be prevented by avoiding triggers such as nicotine, ultraviolet light, certain
Western Scientific Medicinal treatment provides three approaches to treating cancer which as sometimes
used individually, but more often in combination. Surgery removes the tumour, radiotherapy (treatment
with xrays) kills any remaining cancer cells, and chemotherapy (treatment with drugs) destroys cancer cells
that have spread to other parts of the body. These approaches are invasive, do not always work, and have
unpleasant side affects. Treatment using these methods is an essential part for the fight against cancer.
Complementary treatments are best used in an integrative approach, alongside conventional treatment.
This approach has been used at many cancer treatment centres. CAM is used not to cure cancer, but to
ease the pain and alleviate the side effects of conventional treatment to enhance physical, emotional and
-Massage: Can help relieve muscle pain, reduce anxiety, encourage relaxation. -Aromatherapy: Chamomile
can ease anxiety, physical symptoms, and encourage a better quality of life.
Reflexology: Applying pressure to areas of the foot that correspond to the affected organs may help
relieve pain, constipation, nausea.
Acupuncture: Can relieve nausea and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy, and help alleviate
Western herbalism: Aims to boost the body's defences. It might begin with a cleansing programme and
restorative treatments follow to help the body's systems.
-Chinese herbalism: Cancer is associated with deficiency of "qi" (life energy) or an imbalance in yin and
yang. Fu Zheng therapy is claimed to double the life expectancy of patients with advanced cancer. Herbal
mixtures are used to prevent cancer.
Meditation: Brings physical and emotional relaxation, and helps spiritual development.