The interview with Anna Ford on BBC Radio 4




A new 6-part series about complementary medicine.

Every year, one in five of us tries some sort of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) – what’s the attraction? And what do we get out of it?

Broadcasting on Tuesday 05/10/04 21:00-21:30

View the full interview HERE

Presenter: Anna Ford



David Reilly

Thomas Marshall-Manifold

George Lewith

Dylan Evans

Katherine Armitage

Peter Fisher

Phillip Ball



David Reilly


I knew this was going to have to be a great study, I knew it was going to have to be watertight science. And of course we chose one of these extreme dilutions which definitely shouldn't work as it were. And out of that we began to get the sequence of positive results. And the editor of the Lancet, once the peer review process was over, I said to him: "Listen…" - it was the first time we'd spoke - I said, "I want to thank you for having the courage to take this paper." He said: "I want to thank you for recognising it took courage," he said, "we absolutely sweated over this paper, we went through it as we don't go through papers with the finest of combs and we concluded this is science, good science and this is good data and we have to publish this." I did this as a personal inquiry along with my co-workers because I wanted to know the answer and the answer that came back to me was that this was working.



Anna Ford

The impassioned voice of Dr David Reilly, who in 1986 was one of the first scientists to publish credible, well-regarded clinical studies of homeopathy. While the battle still rages about how effective it and other complementary medicines are, some scientists are attempting to unravel a deeper mystery about how they work and ultimately about what's underlying the healing process. In this programme we'll find out if such answers exist.


Tom Marshall Manifold runs the Wimbledon Clinic of Natural Medicine. Over 20 years, he's become a one-stop treatment centre offering chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal medicine and other therapies as well. Unusually for a practitioner of natural medicine, he's an avid enthusiast of modern technology, including a device developed by the Russian space programme, called the Prognos - a diagnostic test based on electronically measuring acupuncture points on the fingers and toes.


Do you offer treatments to your patients or cures? Do you ever talk about a cure?



Dr Thomas


No I don't think I would ever - I wouldn't turn round and say that because I can't because none of us, no matter what field of medicine you're in, can offer a cure. What you can say is you have a condition that is evident in your health system being imbalanced and if we can bring a balance round and strengthen things then your ability to get better will be improved.



Anna Ford


So how important to you is the functioning say of the immune system in the body?




Dr Thomas


It's got to be A1. It's absolutely got to be A1. But you've got to - in order to get your immune system back it's not a matter of you take things for your immune system, you must find out what's hindering the immune system, what's going on in somebody's life that's not allowing them to be better, what is it that has weakened this immune system over a period of time, is it going back to childhood, is it going back to teens when they spent five or six years having glandular infections? So that's why the whole concept has got to be - it's got to be a holistic approach.





He has become the sort of first port of call when you're feeling just - whatever ailment you have and there's a sense and he has a great sort of calmness and authority about him and so if you're feeling run down or if I have a sore throat rather than going to a GP and get antibiotics I'll come in here and get some tablets or phone up and he'll say you've probably got that in the cupboard take 12 of them for two days and you feel better and you feel physically better and you feel better, I think, because you've done it in a natural way. And to be honest I look at him sometimes and I think you're crazy, what are you doing, you can't possibly tell how I am feeling by putting an electrode on my baby finger. But the thing is that what he then gives you works, it makes you feel better. And I'm sure there's an element of you want it to and there's an element of believability in there and it seems to work.



Anna Ford


Now you clearly have a very strong almost paternalistic relationship with your patients, all the patients we've talked to really believe in you, they believe you're going to make them better. How much of their getting better is related to that belief rather than anything you might be giving them?



Dr Thomas


The placebo effect and the faith somebody has in me can only enhance whatever I'm doing.





I just felt like somebody could understand what I was going through and at that point, when I was coming to see the people here, I was at my wit's end and I was prepared to accept anything and I remember speaking with my family who were slightly sceptical and were saying that - do you know what it is you're taking? And at that point I said - I'm prepared to do anything - because I felt so at the end of the road. And I think once you put your trust in a cure and it works for you then you don't need to question it quite so much.




Video Gallery

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Shockwave Therapy 

Dr Thomas explains what is Brain Frequency Analysis and how it can determine the health of a patient.

Find out more about our chiropractic treatment at Wimbledon Clinic and why we differ from other clinics.

A system that helps us determine the state of your health and prescribe a customised program to suit you.

Learn more about Shockwave Therapy and how it can be a highly effective treatment, that is comparable to surgery.


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