First Australian conference to discuss the integration of Chinese and Western medicine

Date: 29/11/2002

Treating hormonal problems, pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause with Chinese herbs and acupuncture will be on the agenda next week at a conference to discuss the growing use of Chinese medicine and its role in modern healthcare.

The 'Integration of Chinese and Western Medicine: A Focus on Women's Health' conference is being hosted by the University of Western Sydney and South Western Sydney Area Health Service. It will bring together international experts on the integration of traditional Chinese and western medicine from China, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and Australia

The conference will feature the most up-to-date research into Chinese medicine, including the use of acupuncture during pregnancy and labour, the safety and regulation of herbal medicines, and using Chinese herbs for menopause, menorrhagia and other gynaecological conditions.

Associate Professor Alan Bensoussan from UWS says the conference is extremely relevant at a time when increasing numbers of Australians are turning to Chinese medicine.

"We estimate there are over three million Chinese medicine or acupuncture consultations each year in Australia. The world market for Chinese medicines is currently estimated to be $US 23 billion," he says.

"However the health profession in Australia has been slower to respond to this growing movement. Up until now, there has been little opportunity for Chinese and western medical researchers to come together and discuss the latest clinical research into the benefits and risks of these practices.

"This conference is the first of its kind in Australia to discuss the potential role that traditional Chinese medicine can play within a Western medical environment. Not only will it look at the growing use of complementary medicine in general, it will also discuss strategies for increasing a research focus in Chinese medicine, education standards and the regulation of Chinese medicine practitioners."

Associate Professor Bensoussan says the emphasis on menopause and other gynaecological conditions should be particularly relevant to researchers, clinicians and health professionals who have an interest in women's health or complementary medicine.

"Women's health is an area that has had a significant uptake of complementary medicine and an area for which Chinese medicine is used widely in public hospitals in China," he says.

"It is an opportunity to look at what other forms of treatments are available and discuss the research that's being done to test their effectiveness.

"We hope this conference promotes a more evidence-based usage of traditional Chinese medicines so consumers can access the best of ancient Chinese therapies as well as the best of modern healthcare."

WHAT:The Integration of Chinese and Western Medicine:A Focus on Women's Health
WHEN:Sunday 1-Monday 2 December 2002
WHERE:Thomas and Rachel Moore Education Centre, Liverpool Hospital
Elizabeth Street, Liverpool

Onsite registration for the conference is available. Cost is $400 for both days.

Note to media: Associate Professor Alan Bensoussan and Professor Felix Wong are available for interviews today and during the conference.

For more information or requests for interviews:

Amanda Whibley
Senior Media Officer
University of Western Sydney
Phone: (02) 9678 7472
Mobile: 0418 438 399