Trend: More hospitals offering alternative, complementary treatments

While it's all well and good to give patients the latest in medical science, their mind and soul need attention, too. Increasingly, hospitals are addressing these needs by adding alternative and complementary therapies to their menu of services. According to the AHA, 37 percent of U.S. hospitals are offering such therapies, including acupuncture, touch therapy, massage and art therapy, up from about 25 percent in 2005.

The hospitals are largely adding New Age therapies to improve patient satisfaction, though proponents note that these services are part of a $19 billion a year market for services and products, almost two-thirds of which are paid for in cash. Most say that patient satisfaction is the main way they determine whether such an alternative treatment is helpful, followed by clinical data.

Among the institutions testing alternative and complementary therapies is Cleveland Clinic, which just completed a pilot program trialing such therapies for patients who underwent heart surgery. Of patients in the heart surgery program, half asked for spiritual care, counseling, art, music, touch therapy or guided imagery. Of those who requested the services, 93 percent said they were helpful.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this USA Today piece

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