Sunday, January 07, 2007

How to part patients from their money

After a heavy week watching my items not selling on eBay (well, three did in the end, two didn't), this morning I decided to while away a few hours reading the links posted by Dr Crippen in the first BritMeds of the year. As expected, an interesting mix. However, one item did lead me further:

"Advice from Lady Sonja, from the department of loony-tunes, that you should lobby your GP to get
reflexology on the NHS "

Usually I scan down to see what else people have been blogging about, and here's what I found in a recent entry on Lady Sonja's blog - A Successful Cure For Chronic Fatigue And Fibromyalgia.

Now this plain makes me cross. Here's what Lady Sonja has to say in her final paragraph:

"In Mickel Therapy the therapist supports sufferers of CFS and fibromyalgia to take the steps necessary to stop their body sending them symptoms. By taking actions based on what their body is telling them, people can cure themselves of the debilitating symptoms and return to normal living."

Mickel Therapy is one of several similar "therapies" for ME/CFS, others are Reverse Therapy and the Lightning Process. The Mickel Therapy claims to have successfully treated over 400 clients, at a success rate of 92%.

Greg Crowhurst has written much better than I can about these "therapies" for the 25% Group, the national charity for those severely affected by ME, and their carers.

Initially Dr David Mickel (an ex-GP) trained with Dr John Eaton (Psychology PhD) as a therapist delivering Reverse Therapy. There is a very enlightening blog written by Adam Del-Monte giving some details of the Reverse Therapy treatment he received from Dr Mickel. After training in Reverse Therapy with Dr Eaton, Dr Mickel fell out with him, and left to found his own Mickel Therapy. Shades of the Freud and Jung schism?

I am shocked by the cost of these therapies.

What is the cost of Mickel Therapy treatment?

"This will depend on the area you are seeking treatment in but generally the fee is between £80 and £100 per session. This is paid at the end of each session." And according to Action for ME, treatment continues for 8 sessions for 75% of patients, longer for the rest.

I am shocked by the training undergone to be able to provide these therapies:

Mickel Therapy:

What kinds of qualifications does your staff hold?

Mickel Therapists only require one qualification and that is to have successfully completed the modular training and be in full supervision under Dr Mickel.
Because Mickel Therapy is innovative and unlike any treatment in existence that we aware of, previous experience of other treatments is unnecessary and can be a hindrance.

Not to mention the cost...

If you look at this document, you will find "Course Fee: Total of £1600 plus VAT" for an intensive 6 day course.

So for £1600 (plus VAT) you can be set loose on ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia patients and charge them up to £100 a session for a minimum of 8 weeks... Sounds considerably cheaper (for NHS) than using the NHS. I'm amazed Patricia Hewitt hasn't thought of it yet - gotta be less hassle than funding the current clinics.

How to train as a Mickel Therapist...

I am also struck by the Ferengi like thoughts here:

"Training should be viewed as an opportunity to provide valuable reduction in the suffering caused by the conditions that Mickel Therapy currently treats. It should also be viewed as an opportunity to expand into the self employed world of health provision. The terms and agreement details the fees involved in this. All potential therapists should have read this and accepted its terms before embarking on training in Mickel Therapy." (my emphasis)

Yes! Guess the Ferengi reference gives me away - I am outed as a Trekker. One of these days I will give you my thoughts on how the team on Startrek NG comply with (my inner Borg coming out there I think!) Belbin's ideas on Team Roles. Remember, Resistance is futile!

Update Tuesday 9 Jan 2007
The Daily Mail has run a story about the Lightning Process today.


Anonymous said...

You mentioned Adam Del Monte - I think there was a message on an ME newsgroup last year that said he was dying.

Silver said...


Found this blog in my research into FMS/CFS/ME. Having read through Adam's experiences with Mickel Reverse Therapy in his blog and the comment from 'Anonymous', I'm very interested to know what happened to him. Is there anyone who can shed light on this ? Thanx !


Hailey Harris said...

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Anonymous said...

I undertook a course of Mickel therapy in 2006 after suffering Fibromyalgia for 3 years. It cost £80 an hour and I had 7 sessions.

Easily the most useful and productive money I have spent. My symptoms improved greatly until I was about 60% of my pre illness levels. By implementing the technique after the therapy I was up to 80%/90%.

I was so impressed with the therapy I completed a training course as a Mickel Therapist costing £1,600. Again this was well worth it, to learn the techniques, meeting the others success stories and seeing how simple a concept can have such excellent results.

However I decided not to continue into becoming a Mickel Therapist as I found that there is a mass of sufferers who cling on to the illness for dear life until they become defined by their illness.

Still, I have my health back so what others do is their business. I would write a blog documenting what I do in my days now that I have my health back but that only seems popular with people who are still ill, funny that. I have had no contact with Mickel Therapy since my week of training but remain appreciative for the positive effect they have had on my health.

Best to try something before being negative as it lends something to your views. It is called credibility.

Anonymous said...

It's beauty is in its simplicity. Mickel therapy worked for me... turned my life around in fact. I had 5 sessions costing a total of 500 pounds. A hell of a lot less that the sacks of sleeping pills, pain killers and lyrica I was living on before!! I have no pain, sleep well and have a clear head - bliss. Try it before you condemn it.

liam said...

i thought it was a scam, i did it for a few years, when i didnt find it helpful i got ignored off them, some people it may help but its nowhere near as many as they claim

Unknown said...

I tried Mickel therapy, honestly not expecting a lot but the eternally stubborn and optimistic girl that I am, I had to try everything before giving up and admitting that I had an incurable disease. I haven't had fibro/CFS (I was diagnosed with both by a neurologist and many general practitioners) for almost a year. If I don't apply the keys Mickel Therapy taught me, then yes I do get the symptoms back, but once I apply them again, they are gone and I am 100% as long as I do what they say. The pattern is there. I'm just graduating with a BS in physics (I can actually take classes again) and I am going to graduate school to study psychoneuroimmunology due to my fascination with the mind-body behavioral medicines and how effective they can be. That and regenerative medicine are the future of medicine. Funny how being scientific and rational these days by lay people is more like just blind negativity rather than actual skepticism. You just assume something is good to be true before it goes through the ringer of real scientific testing.