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dr’s prescription: go home and sit still

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More than a third of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and that number continues to rise attributed mostly to increases in the use of mind-body therapies (MBT) like yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises. “There’s good evidence to support using mind-body therapies clinically,” says Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, an integrative medicine fellow at Harvard Medical School. “Still, we didn’t expect to see provider referral rates that were quite so high.”

Nerurkar and her colleagues analyzed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey. Nearly 6.3 million people used mind-body therapies after referral by a mainstream medical provider, the study found. These people tended to be sicker and used the health-care system more than people who started using the therapies without a referral.

“What we learned suggests that providers are referring their patients for mind-body therapies as a last resort once conventional therapeutic options have failed,” Nerurkar said. “It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health-care system and, possibly, better outcomes for these patients.”

source: A. Nerurkar, G. Yeh, R. B. Davis, G. Birdee, R. S. Phillips. (2011). When conventional medical providers recommend unconventional medicine: results of a national study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 171(9), 862. More on mind-body therapies.

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5 responses »

  1. pretty desparate, commenting on my own post :-).

    I recently asked Jon Kabat-Zinn how long he thought it would take for mainstream medicine to accept MBSR* as a legit treatment modality. His reply, with a staight face: “A thousand years.”

    *learn about MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/index.aspx

    Reply
  2. Health promotion anyone?

    “It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health-care system and, possibly, better outcomes for these patients.”

    Reply
    • nicole: what do you think is keeping docs from suggesting meditation etc.?

      Reply
      • it is I ella not nicole….that means they would have to admit that something other than western medicine works and that western medicine doesn’t have all the answers….and we would be thinking preven
        tative and not trying to cure disease

        Reply
  3. Usually money plays a great role in keeping all the good things from us…money to be made from keeping the old systems going, unfortunately.

    Reply

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