Friday, July 21, 2006

The Future of Hospital Care

Every year, many schools of Traditional Chinese Medicine offer internships to several different hospitals in China where students and practitioners can do intensive study of acupuncture, herbal therapy, Tui Na, or medical Qi Gong and Tai Chi. It is a system designed to allow doctors to find the best treatments for their patients and collaborate closely with other physicians.

Imagine such an intergration in a US hospital, where patients have the option of receiving alternative therapies to augment their allopathic treatment. How useful would this be to so many lying in hospital beds who are suffering from post-of pain, undergoing cancer treatment, detoxing off alcohol or drugs, or simply having trouble going to sleep in an inherently bustling environment? It is beginning to become a reality, albeit in select areas of the country.

Many Western Doctors feel threatened at the notion that medicine can be practiced by those who do not have an MD after their name and, likewise, there are a small pocket of CAM practitioners who are also exclusionists and believe alternative medicine is the only alternative. But by an large, acupuncturists believe in choosing the treatment that is best for their patient, not what is best for their ego or for their pocket. I look forward to the day when there is true collaboration within the healthcare system in this country and to the day acupuncture doctors get to be a part of it.

U.S. Hospitals Offering Alternative Medicine
Thursday, July 20, 2006
By Jennifer Warner

More than one in four U.S. hospitals now offer alternative and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and massage therapy.

A new survey of nearly 1,400 U.S. hospitals shows more mainstream medical institutions are providing complementary and alternative therapies to meet growing demand.

"More and more, patients are requesting care beyond what most consider to be traditional health services," say researchers Sita Ananth of Health Forum and William Martin, PsyD, of the College of Commerce at DePaul University in Chicago, in a news release. "And hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve by offering these therapies."

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes therapies not based on traditional Western medical teachings and may include acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, and massage therapy, among others.

A 2002 CDC survey showed that more than half of Americans thought combining CAM with conventional medicine would be helpful.

The survey, conducted and published by the American Hospital Association every two years, shows the percentage of hospitals offering one or more CAM services increased from 8 percent in 1998 to 27 percent in 2005.

Contrary to popular belief, researchers found that complimentary and alternative medicine offerings were most common in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and less common on the West Coast. The least common areas to offer CAM services were in the South (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee).

The top six complementary and alternative medicine services offered on an outpatient basis among hospitals offering CAM were massage therapy (71 percent); tai chi, yoga, or chi gong (47 percent); relaxation training (43 percent), acupuncture (39 percent); guided imagery (32 percent), and therapeutic touch (30 percent).

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