Complementary medicine improves quality of life in acute rehab, study shows


Complementary medicine improves quality of life in acute rehab, study shows


Complementary medicine (CAM) therapies show effectiveness at improving quality of life for patients of various diagnoses in acute rehabilitation, in-patient facilities, according to preliminary data from a new study presented this week at the Association of Academic Psychiatrists Annual Meeting in Orlando.

While experts have long believed that CAM therapies could benefit patients in acute rehab, less is known about which benefits are most advantageous to these individuals’ quality of life. This retrospective study examines the impact of specific benefits of CAM therapies based on surveys of 100 patients with diagnoses that included spinal cord injuries, strokes, post-operative orthopedic surgeries, traumatic brain injuries and debility secondary to underlying medical conditions.

“We are at an interesting time in medicine where more and more people are trading pills for holistic remedies while the country battles the overuse of certain prescription medications,” said Tochi Nworu, MD, a resident physician at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and the study’s co-author. “Regardless of one’s treatment preference, the end goal is usually the same; reduce or eliminate sequela of medical conditions including pain, anxiety and other factors affecting quality of life. CAM therapies are an effective adjunct to traditional medical management in helping patients recover and cope from the byproducts of their illnesses. These therapies are generally safe, and they give patients additional or alternative options to managing issues such as pain, anxiety and poor sleep. They could potentially have a positive impact on reducing certain medication use and improving quality of life.”

Study participants included patients who identified a need or goal that could be met through the use of CAM. Patients were offered individual or group sessions based on each patient’s needs, goals and preferences. Yoga, breathing exercises, discussion/ education, sensorimotor exercises, guided meditation, acupressure, lymph drainage, massage/ reflexology and cranio-sacral therapy were among the therapies offered to the participants.

At time of discharge, participants were given a Likert scale survey developed by the researchers. The patients were asked to evaluate the impact of their therapies, rating the treatments’ perceived effects on their pain, stress, sleep and other quality of life measures. Fifteen outcomes were evaluated: effects on relaxation/stress, comfort/anxiety, energy levels, self-image, sense of well-being, alleviation of pain, development of pain management strategies, quality of sleep, control of emotions, ability to identify stressors, benefit from resource materials, likelihood of practicing these techniques after sessions and post-discharge, whether CAM should continue to be offered in inpatient clinics, and the likelihood of participating in outpatient CAM at the same institution.

When they evaluated the survey responses to measure the impact of CAM therapies on the various measures, they found that 50.3% of patients responded “a great deal,” 15% responded “somewhat,” 3.9% responded “a little,” 2% said “not at all,” 5.3% said they were “undecided,” and 22% left blank responses.

“Future research will aim to identify a dose-related correlation between the type and amount of therapy to the perceived benefit. This will allow for more effective and personalized treatment plans,” said Dr. Nworu and co-researcher Alexandra Oudheusden, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Burke. According to their study, most patients are likely to continue CAM therapies outside of the in-patient setting. “We are also beginning to see insurance companies cover therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback and massage. If CAM therapies continue to elicit beneficial effects, then perhaps insurers will extend and increase coverage for more CAM therapies. Ultimately, the hope is that CAM becomes more accessible and affordable for everyone as well as for better reimbursement for providers.”

Vitamin D deficiency could be linked to depression in adults

Vitamin D deficiency could be linked to depression in adults

A new study has found an association between vitamin D
deficiency and insufficiency and an increased risk of ...

COVID-19 - Becoming part of the solution (Part 10)

COVID-19 - How to be happy in challenging times (Part 9)

Green tea and coffee lower risk of death in people with type 2 diabetes

Green tea and coffee lower risk of death in people with type 2 diabetes

New research suggests that drinking lots of coffee and green
tea correlates with a lower risk of death from any cause ...

Can the common cold help protect you from COVID-19?

Meditation for mind-control


In a retrospective case study, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that antibiotics administered to children younger than 2 are associated with several ongoing illnesses or conditions, ranging from allergies to obesity.

New research from the University of South Australia shows that excess egg consumption can increase your risk of diabetes.

A team of researchers for the first time has found a correlation between the levels of bacteria and fungi in the gastrointestinal tract of children and the amount of common chemicals found in their home environment.

A new study has shown significant increases in sedentary behaviour, a reduction in physical activity levels, and an increase in anxiety and weight gain throughout the COVID-19 lockdown measures implemented earlier this year. The results were particularly significant in people with obesity.

The COMPLEMENTARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (The CMA) © 2012. No part of this site may be reproduced without the express permission of The Complementary Medical Association. If used without prior consent a charge of US $1,000 per article, or mini section is paid (US $50 per word (minimum) will be charged. This is not meant to reflect a commercial rate for the content, but as a punitive cost and to reimburse The CMA for legal fees and time costs). Use of the contents, without permission will be taken as consent to bill the illegal user in full.