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More Doctors Are Recommending Mind-Body Therapies

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Aug 24, 2011

Mind-Body-Spirit News

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to improve health is not only continuing to increase among consumers; it is also gaining more widespread support from conventional healthcare professionals. The rise is attributed largely to increased participation in mind-body therapies such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and deep-breathing exercises. More than one-third of Americans use mind-body therapies, and 1 in 30 has been referred by a medical provider, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2011; 171 [9], 862–64).

“What we learned suggests that providers are referring their patients for mind-body therapies as a last resort, once conventional therapeutic options have failed,” said Aditi Nerurkar, MD, MPH, co-author of the study and an integrative medicine fellow at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “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 National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, provides a website with evidence-based resources to prepare healthcare providers to discuss CAM approaches with patients. See

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at