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Doctors increasingly prescribe yoga and meditation to patients

Friday, May 13, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: yoga, meditation, health news

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(NaturalNews) A new study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that complementary and alternative medicine treatments, also known as CAM, are becoming much more mainstream than they used to be. Physicians are increasingly referring their patients to get mind-body therapies like yoga, tai chi, and meditation, when all else has failed, say researchers.

Based on data collected from the 2007 National Health Interview (NHI) Survey, Dr. Aditi Nerurkar from Harvard Medical School and her colleagues found that more than 6.3 million Americans, or three percent, use mind-body therapies because they were referred to it by their doctors. And another 35 million-or-so Americans, the team estimates, have been self-referred to mind-body therapies.

"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."

The 2007 NHI Survey explains that nearly 40 percent of Americans use or have used CAM treatments, and 75 of these involve mind-body therapies. The most commonly used CAM treatments include the use of natural products, followed by deep breathing, meditation, and chiropractic treatments. The fastest growing CAM therapies between 2002 and 2007 include deep breathing, meditation, massage, and yoga (http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007/cams...).

"Conventional medicine must recognize that natural therapies are a fundamental healing tradition of all cultures and that modern alternative medicine is also here to stay," says Tori Hudson, ND, in her book, Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness. "A combined, well-thought-out cooperative and integrative approach is often the best that medicine has to offer."

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