How Can Complementary Holistic Medicine Help Me?

A recent survey gives some surprising answers about health problems and how alternative medicine can help you.

  • The 2007 National Health Interview Survey found that 19.2% of American adults and 4.3% of children aged 17 and younger had used at least one complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) mind-body therapy in the year prior to the survey.
  • Pain was the most common reason for CAM use in this survey.
  • Many studies document that psychological stress is linked to a variety of health problems, such as increased heart disease, compromised immune system functioning, and premature cellular and cognitive aging. Some evidence suggests that mind-body therapies could reduce psychological stress.
  • Recent results from NIH-funded studies on CAM mind-body therapies include:
  • Pain sufferers often seek relief though CAM therapies, including mind-body modalities. A review of the evidence on various mind-body therapies to help treat certain neurological diseases involving pain found some evidence for positive effects from some therapies–including biofeedback for migraine headache, yoga for fatigue from multiple sclerosis, and relaxation therapy as a part of comprehensive programs to help control epileptic seizures.
  • In a study of 60 breast cancer survivors, women who used hypnosis reduced the number and severity of hot flashes and also reported improvements in mood and sleep.
  • A small preliminary trial suggests that Zen meditation may be a strategy to help prevent and/or reduce the cognitive decline of normal aging.
  • A study of 63 people with rheumatoid arthritis found that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction helped to improve quality of life and reduce psychological distress.