The fact is, despite complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) making huge inroads in the United States, doctors have long viewed such therapies as dubious. But that is changing, according to a new study. And it’s changing big-time. Alternative therapies, which have had major health breakthroughs via countless studies over the decades, are on the rise — and doctors are actually referring patients to them. Could our addiction to pharmaceuticals be dimming?
More than a third of Americans use some form of 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.
In the past, studies have found that MBT was still on the fringe of mainstream medical care despite being used by millions of patients. But attitudes are shifting. A new study found that one in 30 Americans using MBT has been referred by a medical provider. That would be a doctor suggesting meditation or focused breathing to help treat what ails you.
These referral rates from doctors were quite unexpected by the researchers. And their bit of intriguing health news was published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine.”
It stemmed from a national survey of 23,000 U.S. households. They found that nearly three percent (about 6.3 million people) used MBT due to provider referral and that these Americans were actually sicker than people who used MBT on their own.
What is happening is that doctors are referring patients to MBT once conventional options have run dry and aren’t working. But this, the study asks, begs the question of, if these patients used MBT earlier in their treatment, would it be far more beneficial to the outcome?
And it shows that therapies for the mind and body, a hallmark of alternative medicine, are really breaking into mainstream medicine.