Regarding health and science
In response to questions about her views on alternative medicine and science-based conventional medicine, Princess Märtha Louise has stated the following.
Throughout my life I have been deeply interested in health and research. I believe keenly in expanding our knowledge of the foundations of health. My own training as a physiotherapist has made me aware of the importance of research-based knowledge in advances in the health-related professions, and in particular to the vulnerable individuals who rely on them.
I am grateful that we in Norway have a high-quality health-care system. I am impressed by all the knowledgeable people who work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and educational institutions across Norway. I personally have received help from them many times – as have most people in the country.
I also believe, however, that there are components of a good life and sound physical and mental health that may not be so easy to sum up in a research report. Many preventative measures are of course well documented – such as a healthy diet, proper exercise and a sensible balance between work and leisure. In other areas of life — such as spirituality, intimacy with other people and animals, yoga and meditation — the medicinal effects are perhaps less well understood or documented. In recent years, for example, there have been research findings that conclude that meditation contributes to stress reduction.
I think for many people alternative methods can be an important supplement to help from the conventional medical establishment. A warm hand, an acupuncture needle, a crystal, natural remedies, yoga, meditation or therapeutic conversation can, I believe, help to make life better for many individuals. Not instead of, but in addition to, the treatment provided by the health-care system. As a natural consequence, some people have chosen to follow this approach to treatment as a business practice.
There have been successful collaborations between conventional and alternative forms of medicine – for example, the use of acupuncture in maternity wards in Norwegian hospitals and horses as a supplemental element in therapy at Gaustad Hospital. It is in this area of cooperation and bridge-building that I wish to continue my efforts. I go to the physician while at the same time I use acupuncture and work with energies. I go to yoga and I meditate – as I find that many people do.
All of these have been constants in my life. I try to be true to myself, and to live a life with due regard to both objectivity and personal experience.
I am aware that many people follow what I do and say very closely. My title entails a certain responsibility. It is therefore important to me, including in my business activity, to distinguish between myself as a private person on the one hand and as a member of the Royal Family on the other. Sometimes I stumble, and am grateful to receive supportive advice along the way.
I consider it important to be honest with myself and with the people around me on these matters. I know where I stand, and hope my personal views will be treated as mine alone, without others having to answer for them. By the same token, I hope my views will not be used or interpreted as support for the opinions of others.