First Canadian Charity Dedicated to Complementary/Alternative Medicine Research and Education Launches Nationally

Groundbreaking initiative to build bridge between conventional and
complementary health care through science

TORONTO, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of the Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada, the first national charitable organization dedicated to funding complementary and alternative medical research and education, today announced its launch.

Bringing together biomedical researchers, health professional organizations and experts in a variety of complementary and alternative therapies, the Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada has been established in response to the increased usage of complementary and alternative medicine among the Canadian public. Recent polls show that as many as 42 per cent of Canadians use some form of complementary and alternative therapy - ranging from clinical nutrition and herbal supplements to massage therapy and acupuncture - to supplement the conventional care they receive.

In an era of spiralling health care costs, increased waiting times for conventional treatment and an aging population faced with the onset of chronic illnesses, "Canadians are looking to manage their health by exploring ways to enhance the body's innate ability to stay well," says Dr. Aileen Burford- Mason, board president, Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada. "But while there are some good studies available on certain complementary therapies, much more vital research needs to be done - independent, peer- reviewed research that is based on innovative science and a deep understanding of each therapy and how it is practised."

To address the call of the public, practitioners and policy makers for more and better research, and to fill the significant existing gap in funding, Holistic Health Research will work collaboratively to support and fund:

- High calibre, multidisciplinary, outcomes-based research in
complementary therapies
- Public awareness and information activities regarding the safe and
effective use of complementary therapies
- Education for health professionals about this emerging field
- Dialogue between complementary and conventional health professionals
towards a common vision

In addition to funding research through its grant competitions, Holistic Health Research's role is to help consumers and health professionals sort through the available information to make more informed health care decisions. The organization will act as a conduit to credible, user-friendly information; provide an expert, independent voice to translate and interpret the practical meaning of emerging research; and engage the public through creative educational and awareness-raising activities.

Launch Initiatives
The organization has announced funding for three initial research grants for 2005:

- A multidisciplinary team of investigators from the University of
Calgary and University of Alberta will develop a protocol to study the
safety and effectiveness of two multivitamin and mineral preparations
- one at current RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) levels, and one at
higher doses (Upper Limits) - on mood and immune function compared to

- A pilot study, pairing an OB/GYN with a Registered Massage Therapist,
will investigate the potential effects of massage therapy in reducing
anxiety and pain and improving birth outcomes in high-risk pregnant
women on complete bed rest in hospital.

- As well, a grant competition with the theme "Integrative Approaches to
Cancer Prevention and Care" will consider a wide spectrum of projects,
from clinical investigation of specific complementary treatments, to
qualitative research about information and misinformation regarding
complementary cancer therapies, to exploration of the mind-body
connection in cancer outcomes.

"This is a really exciting time for health care in Canada," says Brown. "Our long term vision is to contribute knowledge towards the creation of a new era in health care - a truly integrated health care system that blends the most effective and least invasive approaches from both complementary and conventional medicine, with an emphasis on prevention and optimizing health."

To accomplish its objectives, the Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada receives its funding from a broad base of donors and supporters, including individuals, private foundations, corporations and founding health partner organizations. Projected revenue goals are $3.5 million over the first five years of operation.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit or call 416-778-4443/1-866-778-4443.

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