New National Study Shows Integrative Medicine Commonly Used to Treat Chronic Health Conditions

Feb 15, 2012, 17:35 ET from Bravewell Collaborative

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seventy-five percent of integrative medicine centers included in a new study about integrative practice reported success treating chronic pain. More than half of centers reported successfully using integrative medicine to treat gastrointestinal conditions, depression/anxiety, cancer and stress.

Integrative Medicine in America: How Integrative Medicine Is Being Practiced in Clinical Centers Across the United States, a new study from The Bravewell Collaborative, looked at the patient populations and health conditions most commonly treated with integrative medicine.

"With chronic health issues costing the economy more than $1 trillion a year, it's essential to find the best treatments and preventive practices," said Donald Abrams, MD, co-author of the report and professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco. "The broader use of integrative medicine could fundamentally change how patients are being served in this country."

Twenty-nine integrative medicine centers were surveyed, including programs at Cleveland Clinic, Duke, Mayo Clinic, Stanford and MD Anderson Cancer Center. All participating centers reported being affiliated with hospitals, health systems and/or medical and nursing schools, suggesting that integrative medicine has now become an established part of healthcare in the U.S.

All of the centers in the study served adult patients and many treated older people (97%), adolescents (86%), children (62%) and individuals at the end of life (66%).

Integrative medicine is an evidence-based approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences on health. The center directors reported that their centers most frequently prescribe, often in tandem, food/nutrition therapies (65%), supplements (60%), yoga (55%), meditation (51%), traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture (50%), massage (49%), and pharmaceutical interventions (46%).

Sixty-two percent of the centers have also incorporated lifestyle change programs that emphasize healthy behaviors and actions. As shown in many studies published over the past five years, attention to healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction can help prevent major health issues.

"There is great potential for integrative medicine to help prevent illness and foster lifelong health," explained Christy Mack, President of The Bravewell Collaborative. "This report suggests that integrative approaches offer promise for increasing the effectiveness of care."

To view the full report, Integrative Medicine in America, online, visit

SOURCE Bravewell Collaborative