Corporate wellness programs open doors to integrative therapies
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine NCCAM site lists over 600 specific alternative therapies. Based on Ken Pelletier, PhD, MD Professor of Public Health, University of Arizona School of Medicine, When I hear somebody in a workplace health program say alternative therapies do not work, I ask: ‘Which cures, for what conditions, in what inhabitants, and in what situations?’ It depends on what you are talking about. There are those who say, it must be.’ But look at this list of over 600 remedies. A substantial number carry a very real potential to do damage. Ken has extensively reviewed complementary and alternative medicine CAM research from all over the world. Because of where I work, my study has to conform to a standard of best possible signs as seen in randomized clinical trials. But there are several potentially significant therapies and interventions which simply do not lend themselves to that sort of analysis.
Often such studies See excellent outcomes although lack the documentation that is essential. Ken warns corporate health practitioners against ignoring such studies and recommends assessing them with a 3-pronged triage-type strategy:
- Is there evidence from clinicians that the treatment works in the individual’s situation?
- What is available in revealing what does not work and the literature?
- What studies are underway that needs us to wait and see?
As increasing numbers Of CAM therapies gain approval in worker health programs, it will become essential to develop a common vocabulary. The expression Integrative Medicine IM refers to an evidence-based fusion of traditional and CAM practices. IM is not a system that is physician-centric — professionals function with suppliers of competencies that are employee recognition programs in virtual or integrated systems. They form a community where results are improved from working together, instead of at odds with one another. These networks typically fall into 4 categories:
- Freestanding IM practices that house multiple areas
- Family practice group with a virtual community of respected CAM professionals for patient referrals
- IM services affiliated within a hospital setting
- Disciplines offered through settings such as schools health promotion programs, extension programs, and churches.
According to the 2007 National US Health Interview Survey of 23,393 adults and 9417 kids ages 17 and under, 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children use some kind of CAM. This is represented by the increasing numbers of health insurance programs that cover these CAM therapies as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and naturopathy in some states, nutrition counseling, stress management, and behavioral medicine. Herbals Much vitamins/minerals, exercise equipment, books, videos, and gym memberships are available as health plan benefits. Ken points out the reason: it is what their health and customers desire.