Alternative Medicine at the Hospital

image credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian

Not all that long ago, you could guarantee that your doctor wouldn’t even think about suggesting alternative medicine to treat you. But these days, even hospitals are offering things like acupuncture and reiki. 

Hospitals are going alternative. Forty-two percent now offer at least one type of complementary or alternative medicine treatment, according to a recent survey by the American Hospital Association and the Samueli Institute, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on these treatments.

What hospitals choose to offer runs the gamut, from well-known therapies such as acupuncture to less familiar treatments like reiki, in which practitioners channel a patient’s energy by placing their hands on or just above specific locations on the body.

Patient demand is the top reason hospitals offer complementary and alternative therapies, cited by 85 percent. Clinical effectiveness? That comes in second, at 70 percent.

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Original article on NPR.org, written by Michelle Andrews, posted November 15, 2011.

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