Research has shown that massage, aromatherapy, and reflexology are some of the most frequently used complementary therapies in the UK1-3, they are also some of the least well researched. Our students are trained in research methods and statistics and are required to apply these to complementary therapies. Graduates will have the skills necessary to critically evaluate published research and the knowledge needed to conducted a research project. We envisage that some of our BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapies graduates will proceed to complete post-graduate studies in research (MPhil/PhD).

To encourage this we offer a prize for the best undergraduate dissertation. The first student to win this prize also had her project published in a peer-reviewed journal4. In 2008, two students were jointly awarded the prize, which was, that year, sponsored by Elsevier which publishes a range of scientific journals. One of the Editors at Elsevier gave the following comment:

‘We are delighted to be able to sponsor the Award for the best dissertation 2008 from the BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapies degree at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff. The journal, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice provides students, researchers and practitioners alike with an opportunity to read about high quality research and the integration of CAM in clinical practice. Our goal is to ensure people receive informed, substantive and clinically effective health care practice. This innovative Award reflects these aims and helps to forward the frontiers of international clinical knowledge in complementary medicine.’
Dr Denise Rankin-Box (Editor-in-Chief, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice)

The complementary therapies centre has a track record of research publications and contributed to the last Research Assessment Exercise. The most recent publication was an evaluation of our complementary therapies clinic5. We are keen to expand the research culture and would like to develop an active research programme with post-graduate researchers.

The complementary therapies team is committed to driving up the evidence base, and as part of their third year, all undergraduates will complete a research dissertation. One of our graduates is currently working with the complementary therapies team and Tenovus on a research proposal to investigate the use of reflexology in reducing arm lymphodema after breast cancer surgery. This followed an award of ‘Best Dissertation’ for an undergraduate project which piloted the design.

The complementary therapies team is also involved with a collaborative project with the University of Glamorgan on ‘Clinic Evaluation’ – a comparative study building on work already done on the final year therapy clinic here at Cardiff Metropolitan.

Cardiff Metropolitan played host to CAMSTRAND this year, the UK’s premier conference into developing research in complementary and alternative medicine.

Harris P, Rees R. The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use among the general population: a systematic review of the literature. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2000;8:88–96.

Thomas KJ, Nicholl JP, Coleman P. Use and expenditure on complementary medicine in England: a population based survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2001;9:2–11.

Harris P, Finlay IG, Cook A, Thomas KJ, Hood K. Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with cancer in Wales: a cross sectional survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2003;11:249–53.

Atkins R, Harris P. Using reflexology to manage stress in the workplace: a preliminary study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2008, 14, 280-287

Harris P, Atkins R, Alwyn T. Evaluating a complementary therapies clinic: outcomes and relationships. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2010; 16,31-35.