Complementary therapies 'can benefit patients'

Patients with conditions such as back pain and stress can benefit from some of the alternative therapies, the report by economist Christopher Smallwood will say.

But there is a shortage of treatments such as acupuncture and osteopathy in poor areas, it will say.

The report, which Charles commissioned nine months ago, is an overview of available evidence about complementary therapies. It includes the views of health professionals and case studies where medicines have been used.

Some mainstream therapies, such as osteopathy and acupuncture, could have a larger role in NHS care, the report will say.

But the benefits of homeopathy, a system which uses natural ingredients to treat like with like, are more questionable.

The demand for alternative therapies grows year on year. Millions of people now use alternative therapies in the UK and about half of GPs provide access to treatments.

The Prince, who is a supporter of alternative medicine, has not had any involvement in the report since it was commissioned.

Mr Smallwood is a former chief economics advisor to Barclays Bank.

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