Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Review ABC of complementary medicine

What is complementary medicine?

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 11 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:693

Do ''phantoms in the brain'' help to explain complementary medicine?

I happened to read your first 'ABC of complementary medicine'1
article prior to the previous weeks editorial 'Phantoms in the brain'2. I
was struck by the
similarity in the proported representation of organs on the surface of the
body in traditional Chinese acupuncture and modern reflexology, with the
described association between phantom body parts and the surface of the

Could we be on the brink of understanding a completely new level of brain
functioning which is used empirically by these complementary therapies?

Nigel Callow, retired GP

Wicket's End, Little Casterton, Stamford, Lincs. PE9 4BE

1 Zollman C, Vickers A. ABC of complementary medicine: what is
complementary medicine? BMJ 1999; 319: 693

2 Halligon PW, Zeman A, Berger A. Phantoms in the brain. BMJ
1999; 319: 587

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 September 1999
Nigel Callow