We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of alternative therapies, like yoga, meditation and deep breathing. Now it looks like the medical profession is starting to accept that evidence.
A study out of Harvard medical School shows that about one in 30 Americans use mind-body therapies due to a physician’s referral. The findings indicate these therapies may be becoming a more mainstream.
That surprised the researchers who didn’t expect to see referral rates that were quite so high. They collected information from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey and found more than 6.3 million Americans used mind-and-body therapies due to provider referral. That compares with 34.8 million who were self-referred. Those who were referred by their doctors tended to be sicker and used the health care system more than people who self-referred.
The researchers think doctors are referring their patients for mind-body therapies as a last resort once conventional therapeutic options have failed. They 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.