Alternative therapies

Many alternative therapies have proved to have a positive therapeutic or medical benefit and there is no reason why these should not be applied to work-related conditions.

In 2001, Jill Kaufman was interviewed for Safety At Work magazine.  The interview is now available at SafetyAtWorkblog.

In 2001, the wellness industry in Australia was just starting and corporate health programs were searching for validity and credibility.  Rehabilitation, just like health insurers, was beginning to allow for a broader range of medical treatments.  It seemed useful to educate the OHS readers of the magazine with this developing approach to worker care.

Jill’s comments should be seen in their historical context but this does not make them any less interesting , or relevant.  Below are a couple of excerpts:

“Placing a long term RTW employee through the Western medical process could, in fact, be continuing to injure them in terms of their self-esteem. A different approach on a holistic basis allows for an understanding of the injury through an understanding of the person.”

“SAW: Many rehabilitation programs measure success by the rapid return of a worker to work duties but also by the financial expenditure on that person’s rehabilitation. Can the value of the approach you advocate be similarly measured?

JK: There can be surprisingly simple solutions to what can appear to be very complicated issues. I think one of the surprising things that companies learn is that it is often not a big financial expenditure or a large amount of time that can provide positive results. If you tackle the problem with the wrong instruments and the wrong tools, it can seem a very long haul to turn around and use a non-Western approach. But in fact shifts in thinking can bring about quick results.”

“SAW: Many call centres are providing yoga, physiotherapy and massages to workers on the premises and often without the workers leaving their workstations. What are your thoughts on this practice?

JK: Often this is doing the absolute minimum that is required. To have people doing yoga at their desk, when a core element of yoga is centring your self, breathing exercises, the call centre is as different to the practices of yoga as you can get.”

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