Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

Published by InnoVision Health Media
The authors point out how Mill's method of difference underlies the reigning group-statistical and randomized clinical trial approaches to causality assessment. I would add that in emphasizing the method of difference, we have overlooked some of the other methods developed by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) that hold great promise in our scientific and clinical endeavors. In addition to the method of difference, Mill developed at least four additional methods (or "canons," as he called them) of inductive inference: the method of agreement, the joint method of agreement and difference, the method of residues, and the method of concomitant variation.1 In its general form, the method of concomitant variation suggests that whatever phenomenon varies in any manner whenever another phenomenon varies in some particular manner is either a cause or an effect of that phenomenon or is connected with it through some fact of causation.2 Much of what Kiene and von Schön-Angerer present in their article could be viewed as variations of this method. What seems unique in Kiene and von Schön-Angerer's treatment is their emphasis on the use of this general principle within a single case. Used across many cases, the method supports the well-known correlational approach to empirical research. In place of seeking patterns among many cases—as group-statistical and correlational approaches advocate—Kiene and von Schön-Angerer recommend searching carefully for causality-indicating patterns within single cases or individuals. I contend that much can be learned using such an approach. Besides the illustrations given by Kiene and von Schön-Angerer, additional ones come to mind: the diagnostic and prescriptive powers in homeopathy's careful and wide-ranging observations of patterns of diverse symptoms; the general principles of learning, memory, and psychological functioning discerned in single cases by Ebbinghaus, Freud, Watson, and even by Pavlov and Skinner; and veridical evidence for paranormal functioning, in a single anecdote, that comes from a large number of rare and specific correspondences. A more superficial use of large numbers of cases is abandoned in favor of a more intense, deep, and careful study of patterns within the complexity of a single case or instance. Aided by a mindful, discerning stance—ever alert to possible confounds,
An in-treatment web-based survey was conducted in 2005 with 50 New York World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers, volunteers, and area residents and workers who were treated with Ayurvedic herbs for post-9/11 symptoms. The survey documented pretreatment efforts at symptom relief, post-treatment symptom impact, and the context for using the herbal intervention. Herbal treatment was administered and monitored by a private non-profit organization. The natural detoxification and immune-strengthening program consists of 4 herbal supplements developed by an Ayurvedic physician. A minimum 6-month basic program was recommended, but many participants continued to 1 year and longer. All 50 respondents reported high incidence of alleviation of previously intractable symptoms, chiefly respiratory symptoms, fatigue, and depression.
Depression is common after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, but little is known about its effect on post-CABG inflammation or infection or about the most effective treatment for post-CABG depression. (1) To determine ifpost-CABG depression is associated with increased infectious illness and (2) to test effects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on depressive symptoms, inflammatory biomarkers, and post-CABG infections in depressed post-CABG women. Randomized, controlled trial. Two urban tertiary care centers. Fifteen clinically depressed women in the first month after CABG, along with a comparison group of 37 non-depressed postCABG women, were studied. Inclusion criteria were: < or = 75 years old, English-speaking, undergoing first-time CABG, available for 6 months offollow-up, and without malignancy or autoimmune disorders. Eight weeks of individual home-based CBT. (1) Depressive symptoms measured by the Beck Depression Inventory, (2) natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) measured by 51Cr-release assay, (3) infectious illness episodes measured by the Modified Health Review, (4) interleukin (IL)-6 and C reactive protein (CRP) measured by enzyme immunoabsorbent assay. Clinically depressed post-CABG women exhibited decreased NKCC and a higher incidence of in-hospital fevers and infectious illness in the first 6 months after CABG. Among depressed women, CBT yielded moderate to large effects for improved NKCC (D=0.67) and decreased IL-6 (D=0.61), CRP (D=0.85), and postoperative infectious illnesses (D=0.93). CBT holds promise for improving depression and immunity and reducing infection and inflammation after CABG.
Context: The positive effects of physical activity on the well-being of older adults have been well documented. Tai chi is a suitable form of physical activity, with known physical and psychological benefits for older adults. Objective: The objective of the current study was to compare the effects of participation in a 16-wk tai chi program on the functional fitness of older adults with and without previous tai chi experience. Design: The research team designed a prospective cohort study. Participants who had practiced tai chi previously for ≥1 y at baseline were classified as experienced; all others were considered inexperienced. Setting: The study took place at 2 community centers in 2 locations in the Greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. Participants: Participants were residents of the 2 communities. Intervention: Participants were instructed to attend two 1-h sessions of Yang-style tai chi per wk. Outcome measures: Data on functional fitness- strength, endurance, speed, and flexibility-were collected at baseline and after completion of the tai chi program. Results: Of the 143 participants who completed the study, 20.5% were classified as experienced. Experienced participants had significantly higher ratings on functional fitness tests at baseline compared with the inexperienced group. At the end of the study, inexperienced participants had experienced significant improvements in all measures of functional fitness, although experienced participants had shown significant improvements only in measures of endurance and speed. Conclusion: Tai chi appears to be an optimal mode of physical activity for older adults regardless of previous experience with tai chi.
To undertake a systematic analysis of case reports involving religious or spiritual issues published between 1980 and 1996. MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the preclinical sciences. A search of 4,306,906 records indexed on MEDLINE from 1980 to 1996. A total of 364 abstracts were found, then subjected to coding analysis. Categories were developed for (1) types of healthcare situations involving religious/spiritual issues, (2) religious and spiritual interventions, (3) collaboration between healthcare and religious professionals, (4) psychopathology and sensitivity themes, and (5) religious faith/spiritual path. Although all of these case reports involved religious and spiritual issues, only 45 (12%) explicitly mentioned a religious professional. Of these, only 8 (2%) indicated any collaboration between healthcare and religious professionals. A paucity of published case report literature exists on religious and spiritual issues (.008% of the MEDLINE records), indicating that the increasing acceptance of these factors by patients and healthcare professionals is not yet reflected in scientific and clinical journals. A need exists for more documented examples of collaboration between healthcare and religious professionals.
All eight publications since 1984 that have reported a total of 10 clinical studies of the treatment of common colds with zinc are reviewed. The reasons for the puzzling mix of diametrically opposite results in these studies are elucidated and related to independent in vitro investigations. A theoretical framework is put forth that explains the beneficial effects of zinc and that has a solid foundation based on the known molecular structures of the surface of human rhinovirus and intercellular adhesion molecule-1, the docking point for human rhinovirus present on the surfaces of cells of the nasal epithelium. The results of clinical investigations and theory suggest that consistently beneficial therapeutic effects can be expected of zinc ions from zinc gluconate with glycine in lozenges prepared according to homeopathic principles and procedures. The latest study published used an "intent to treat" statistical model, and the highly beneficial effects of zinc found in that study could not be compared directly with results from any earlier studies. Raw data from that study were therefore reanalyzed on the basis of assessable patients, and the results show an even better effect and can be compared directly with earlier findings. No side effects or adverse experiences due to zinc that were serious, disturbing, or persistent were found in any of the 10 studies.
The chiropractic profession is the largest, most established complementary and alternative medical (CAM) profession in the United States. The use of unconventional healthcare in the United States has increased in recent years, yet little is known about the market for specific CAM professions such as chiropractic. To evaluate the market for US chiropractors between 1996 and 2005. We conducted a descriptive study of the chiropractic profession from 1996 to 2005 using data from the Medical Expenditure Survey, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The amount and proportion of outpatient healthcare expenditures on chiropractic care in the United States, total chiropractors, number of chiropractors per adult population (>18 years), graduates from chiropractic schools, and professional income of chiropractors. From 1996 to 2005 the proportion of outpatient US healthcare expenditures spent on chiropractic care increased from 2.15% to 3.26%. The total number of US chiropractors increased from 43 663 to 52 687 in 2004, but growth slowed between 2002 and 2004, resulting in a decrease in the number of chiropractors per 10000 US adults. Between academic years 1996 and 2001, chiropractic schools graduated about 3700 students each year; however, between 2001 and 2003, the annual number of chiropractic graduates decreased by 28%. Between 1998 and 2005, the inflation-adjusted median self-reported annual income of employed chiropractors fell from $76598 to $67200. From 1996 to 2005, relative expenditures on chiropractic care increased; however, the number of chiropractic graduates, the rate of growth of chiropractors, and the incomes of chiropractors have declined. Future research is needed to investigate why national expenditures on chiropractic care have increased despite an apparent decrease in the supply of US chiropractors.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by US adults increased substantially between 1990 and 1997, yet little is known about more recent trends. Compare CAM therapy use by US adults in 2002 and 1997. Comparison of two national surveys of CAM use by US adults: (1) the Alternative Health/Complementary and Alternative Medicine supplement to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS, N = 31,044) and (2) a 1997 national survey (N = 2055), each containing questions about 15 common CAM therapies. Prevalence, sociodemographic correlates, and insurance coverage of CAM use. The most commonly used CAM modalities in 2002 were herbal therapy (18.6%, representing over 38 million US adults) followed by relaxation techniques (14.2%, representing 29 million US adults) and chiropractic (7.4%, representing 15 million US adults). Among CAM users, 41% used two or more CAM therapies during the prior year. Factors associated with highest rates of CAM use were ages 40-64, female gender, non-black/non-Hispanic race, and annual income of dollar 65,000 or higher. Overall CAM use for the 15 therapies common to both surveys was similar between 1997 and 2002 (36.5%, vs. 35.0%, respectively, each representing about 72 million US adults). The greatest relative increase in CAM use between 1997 and 2002 was seen for herbal medicine (12.1% vs.18.6%, respectively), and yoga (3.7% vs. 5.1%, respectively),while the largest relative decrease occurred for chiropractic (9.9% to 7.4%, respectively). The prevalence of CAM use has remained stable from 1997 to 2002. Over one in three respondents used CAM in the past year, representing about 72 million US adults.
To assess the status of managed care and insurance coverage of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and the integration of such services into managed care. A literature review and information search were conducted to determine which new insurers had special policies for CAM from 1999 to 2000. Telephone interviews were conducted with a sample of 6 new managed care organizations (MCOs) or insurers identified in 2000 and a nonrepresentative cohort of 4 of the original 18 MCOs and insurers who responded both to the original survey in 1997 and again in 1998 to determine trends. This study constitutes the results of the third year of an ongoing annual survey. For the year 2000, a total of 14 new companies were identified as offering some CAM coverage. Survey results were analyzed for 6 of these who responded to the current survey as well as the results of the cohort mentioned above. Most of the insurers interviewed offer some coverage for the following: nutrition counseling, biofeedback psychotherapy, acupuncture, preventive medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, and physical therapy. All new companies indicated that market demand was a primary motivator for covering CAM. Factors determining whether insurers would offer coverage for additional therapies included potential cost-effectiveness, consumer interest, and demonstrable clinical efficacy. Among the most common obstacles listed for incorporating CAM into mainstream healthcare were lack of research on clinical or cost-effectiveness, economics, ignorance about CAM, provider competition, and lack of standards of practice. Consumer demand for CAM is motivating more MCOs and insurance companies to assess the clinical and cost benefits of incorporating CAM. Outcomes studies for both conventional and CAM therapies are needed to help create a healthcare system based on treatments that work, whether they are conventional, complementary, alternative, or integrative medicine.
The decade of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine's existence has seen dramatic advancement of the naturopathic profession in all areas: research, quality of practice, quality of education, licensure, inclusion in the political process, and public acceptance. Naturopathic doctors are now valued in the marketplace and in policy as a legitimate part of an overall system of healthcare. Momentum, infrastructure, acceptance, and conceptualization are all foundational to the future. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine was one of the first journals to invite naturopathic doctors onto its Editorial Board (i.e., Pizzorno, Standish). Our profession thanks and applauds you for inviting us.
Perceived social support has been established as an important determinant of mortality risk. The perception of parental love and caring reflects the core of social support in the first 20 years of life. In the early 1950s, narrative descriptions of parents were obtained from a sample of healthy undergraduate men at Harvard University who participated in the Harvard Mastery of Stress Study. In a 35-year prospective follow-up investigation, detailed medical and psychological histories and medical records were obtained. Subjects who had illnesses such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, duodenal ulcer, and alcoholism in midlife had used significantly fewer positive words to describe their parents (eg, loving, friendly, warm, open, understanding, sympathetic, just) while in college. This effect was independent of the subject's age, family history of illness, smoking behavior, marital history, and the death or divorce of the subject's parents. Furthermore, 95% of subjects who used few positive words and also rated their parents low in parental caring had diseases diagnosed in midlife, whereas only 29% of subjects who used many positive words and also rated their parents high in parental caring had diseases diagnosed in midlife. Because parents are usually the most meaningful source of love and caring for much of early life, the perception of parental love and caring may play a special role in promoting long-term health. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that love and caring play an important role in healing.
This research documents policies in 39 randomly selected academic medical centers integrating complementary and alternative medical (CAM) services into conventional care. Twenty-three offered CAM services-most commonly, acupuncture, massage, dietary supplements, mind-body therapies, and music therapy. None had written policies concerning credentialing practices or malpractice liability. Only 10 reported a written policy governing use of dietary supplements, although three sold supplements in inpatient formularies, one in the psychiatry department, and five in outpatient pharmacies. Thus, few academic medical centers have sufficiently integrated CAM services into conventional care by developing consensus-written policies governing credentialing, malpractice liability, and dietary supplement use.
No population-based data are available on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) specifically among colorectal cancer patients. To examine the prevalence and determinants of CAM use among colorectal cancer patients in Alberta, Canada. Population-based questionnaire. Patients (871 of 1240 surveyed), or their close relatives or friends, who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1993 or 1995 in Alberta, Canada. Demographics, lifestyle, health status, symptoms and coping mechanisms, and attitudes about cancer cause, conventional treatments and practitioners, and CAM and practitioners. Seventy percent (871) of 1240 participants completed the questionnaire, and 49% used CAM. The most frequently used CAM therapies among users were psychological and spiritual therapies (65%), vitamins and minerals (46%), and herbs (42%). Sixty-eight percent of CAM users informed their medical doctors, and 69% used CAM after conventional care. Logistic regression suggested the strongest predictors of CAM use to be vegetarian diet, aged less than 50 years, female, having therapy options other than conventional treatment recommended by conventional doctors, experiencing changes in bowel habits orfatigue before diagnosis, and recommendation of chemotherapy. Nonsurviving patients were more likely to have used CAM than were survivors. Cancer patients are using CAM and communicating usage to physicians. This finding suggests that physicians should be prepared to discuss CAM with patients, and evidence-based information about CAM should be sought, including where CAM may pose risks. This study serves as a baseline for studies on the efficacy and safety of CAM.
Substantial evidence suggests that acupuncture-point stimulation may be effective in controlling side effects of chemotherapy. To examine the efficacy of an acustimulation wristband for the relief of chemotherapy-induced nausea. Randomized clinical trial using a 3-level crossover design. Three outpatient oncology clinics in the northeastern United States. Twenty-five women and 2 men who experienced moderate or more severe nausea following their first chemotherapy treatment. We compared active acustimulation of the Pericardium 6 (PC-6) point on the ventral surface of the wrist with sham acustimulation (a corresponding point on the posterior surface of the wrist). A control group received no acustimulation. Severity of nausea and quantity of antiemetic medication used. No statistically significant differences in average severity of nausea were observed between the 3 interventions. However, the data showed a difference close to statistical significance in the severity of delayed nausea reported during active acustimulation compared to no acustimulation (P <.06). In addition, patients took fewer antinausea pills during the active-acustimulation cycle of this experiment compared to the no-acustimulation phase (P < .05). Findings on the efficacy of an acustimulation band for the control of chemotherapy-induced nausea are positive but not conclusive. These findings provide ample justification for further study of acustimulation in clinical oncology.
In a previous study, the special extract ERr 731 of Rheum rhaponticum significantly reduced vasomotor and other menopausal symptoms associated with perimenopause. This trial was conducted to confirm the efficacy of ERr 731. A multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial with 112 perimenopausal women with menopausal symptoms receiving either 1 enteric-coated tablet of ERr 731 (n = 56) or placebo (n = 56) daily for 12 weeks. Primary outcome criterion for efficacy of ERr 731 compared to placebo was the change of the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) total score from day 0 to day 84. Other efficacy assessments analyzed included the number and severity of hot flushes, individual symptoms of the MRS, treatment outcome, and various safety parameters. By 12 weeks, ERr 731 caused a highly significant reduction of the MRS total score from 27.0 +/- 4.7 points to 12.4 +/- 5.3 points when compared to the placebo-induced decrease from 27.0 +/- 5.3 points to 24.0 +/- 6.2 points (P < .0001). A significant reduction in each individual MRS item score, in hot flushes and the hot flush weekly weighted score, together with a marked improvement in treatment outcome were also observed (P < .0001). These results confirm the efficacy of ERr 731 in alleviating menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal women. Fourteen adverse events were reported in total: 11 by 5 women receiving ERr 731 and 3 by 3 women receiving placebo. ERr 731 was well tolerated by the majority of the women. ERr 731 was confirmed to be effective for the treatment of menopausal symptoms in perimenopause.
The special extract ERr 731 from the roots of rhapontic rhubarb has been in widespread use in Germany since 1993, and the current regulations have required an evaluation of its risk:benefit ratio in daily use. To demonstrate the efficacy and tolerability ofERr 731 in menopausal women in everyday practice. Three hundred sixty-three menopausal women with menopausal symptoms were enrolled at 70 German gynecological practices and received ERr 731 for 6 months. Women visited the practices for a baseline assessment and after 3 and 6 months. Primary outcome criterion was the change of the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) total score after 6 months. Other assessments included compliance, tolerability, health-related quality of life, and occurrence of adverse events. After 6 months of treatment with ERr 731 in 252 women, there was a significant decrease of the MRS total score from 14.5 points at baseline to 6.5 points (P<.0001). The reduction of the MRS score was more pronounced in women with a score of > or =18 points at baseline. One tablet per day was sufficient to reduce the symptoms significantly in the majority of women. The health-related quality of life improved markedly. A good or very good treatment outcome was reported by the majority of the participating women. One adverse event was reported that was assessed as having no relation to ERr 731 intake. ERr 731 is a well-tolerated and safe medication for the successful treatment of menopausal symptoms in peri- and postmenopausal women.
Context: Functional abdominal pain (FAP) is one of the most common functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in children. Currently, medical practitioners widely use tricyclic antidepressants to treat FAP. Those antidepressants, however, have been associated with an increased risk of suicidal ideation, and the accompanying side effects often limit the benefits. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is a dietary supplement that has efficacy as an antidepressant and as a treatment for chronic pain. Objective: The research team hypothesized that during SAM-e exposure (1) participants' pain reports would significantly improve over time, (2) participants' reported quality of life would significantly improve over time, and (3) toxicity measures (liver-function tests and mania and depression scales) would not change significantly. Design: The research team performed an open-label, doseescalation trial of oral SAM-e among children with FAP. Participants came to the research facility for measurements at baseline and after 2 wk, 1 mo, and 2 mo. The research team monitored participants for potential toxicities (liver toxicity, mania, and depression) throughout the trial. Setting: The trial was conducted at the University of California, San Diego. Participants: The research team recruited children and adolescents with FAP via advertisement at several community general pediatric clinics and at the research team's subspecialty pediatric gastrointestinal clinic at a tertiary care center. The eight resulting participants were children with a median and mean age of 14 y. Intervention: To treat persistent abdominal pain, all participants received SAM-e at an initial dose of 200 mg/d, with escalation to a maximum dose of 1400 mg/d over the period of 2 mo. Outcome measures: The primary outcomes were the participants' self-reports of pain and quality of life. The research team used the multidimensional measure for recurrent abdominal pain (MM-RAP), Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale, and the PedsQL for those measurements. The team used repeated measures analyses to analyze the data. Results: Six participants completed the study. The research team demonstrated an improvement in self-pain reports over the 2-mo follow-up period (P = .004). The median dose of SAM-e that participants took at the 2-mo follow-up period was 1400 mg (interquartile range: 950-1400 mg) daily. Liver function tests and assessments for mania and depression did not change over the study period. Conclusions: Oral SAM-e demonstrates promise in reducing abdominal pain among children with FAP, with minimal toxicity. The research team needs to conduct larger, placebo-controlled trials to support its initial findings.
Since ancient times, spiritual teachers have described paths and practices that a person could follow to achieve health, happiness, and peace of mind. Considerable recent research has indicated that any sort of spiritual practice is likely to improve one's prognosis for recovering from a serious illness. Many of these approaches to spirituality involve learning to quiet the mind rather than adhering to a prescribed religious belief. These meditative paths include the mystic branches of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity; Kabalistic Judaism; Sufism; and many others. What is hinted at in the subtext of these teachings is that as one learns to quiet his or her mind, one is likely to encounter psychic-seeming experiences or perceptions. For example, in The Sutras of Patanjali, the Hindu master tells us that on the way to transcendence we may experience all sorts of amazing visions, such as the ability to see into the distance, or into the future, and to diagnose illnesses and to cure them. However, we are told not to get attached to these psychic abilities--they are mere phenomena standing as stumbling blocks on the path to enlightenment. In this article, we describe the laboratory evidence for some of these remarkable phenomena and their implications for science, mental health, and peace of mind.
Acupuncture at the P6 or Neiguan point to treat nausea and vomiting has been practiced in China for many years. More recently, acupressure at P6 has been used successfully to decrease the symptoms of pregnancy sickness and with mixed results to decrease motion sickness. To determine whether an Acuband, a commercially available acupressure wristband, would relieve the symptoms of motion sickness. 25 healthy subjects, aged 18 to 22 years, prescreened for susceptibility to motion sickness, were tested on 3 separate occasions in a rotating optokinetic drum with the following conditions: wearing an Acuband on the wrist, wearing an Acuband on the arm, and wearing no Acuband. Subjective symptoms of motion sickness and abnormal gastric activity, as recorded via electrogastrography, were obtained throughout the procedure. Subjects reported significantly fewer symptoms of motion sickness on days when wearing the Acuband on the wrist or the arm than they did on control days (when they wore no Acuband). Subjects also showed less abnormal gastric activity on the days when wearing an Acuband than they did on control days. An Acuband worn on the wrist or forearm decreases the symptoms of motion sickness and the gastric activity that usually accompanies motion sickness.
Body Mass Index 
Mean Dietary Carbohydrate Intake 
Net Dietary Carbohydrate Intake 
Results: Weight Loss 
Results: Waist Size 
A proprietary fractionated white bean extract of Phaseolus vulgaris has been shown in vitro to inhibit the digestive enzyme alpha-amylase. This may prevent or delay the digestion of complex carbohydrates, potentially resulting in weight loss. A 4-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 25 healthy subjects consuming 1000 mg of a proprietary fractioned white bean extract or an identical placebo twice a day before meals in conjunction with a multi-component weight-loss program, including diet, exercise, and behavioral intervention, was conducted. Both groups reduced their weight and waist size significantly from baseline. The active group lost 6.0 lbs (P=.0002) and 2.2 in (P=.0050), and the placebo group lost 4.7 lbs (P=.0016) and 2.1 in (P=.0001). The differences between groups were not significant (weight P=.4235, waist size P=.8654). Through subsequent exploratory analysis to investigate group findings further, subjects were stratified by total dietary carbohydrate intake. This probative analysis revealed that the tertile of subjects who had consumed the most carbohydrates demonstrated significant reductions in both weight (8.7 lbs vs 1.7 lbs, P=.0412) and waist size (3.3 in vs 1.3 in P=.0100) compared with placebo subjects in the same tertile of carbohydrate intake. Subjects who adhere to a program including dietary modification, exercise, and behavioral intervention can significantly reduce their weight and waist size in a short period of time. In an exploratory analysis of data, the tertile of subjects who ate the most carbohydrates experienced a significant reduction in both weight and waist size with the addition of the white bean extract compared to the placebo group of the same tertile of carbohydrate consumption. Longer studies with a larger pool of subjects are required to validate these findings.
Evidence synthesized from social epidemiology, psychophysiology, and behavioral medicine suggests that religiousness may represent a significant correlate of absorption, a construct for which few if any psychosocial determinants have been identified. To examine the association between absorption and intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness. 83 respondents of a self-administered survey of adult survivors of cancer or other life-threatening diseases, recruited from participants in a pilot study of psychosocial factors related to recovery from illness. Tellegen Absorption Scale and Religious Orientation Scale. Absorption, as assessed by the Tellegen Absorption Scale, was positively and significantly associated with intrinsic religiousness, as measured by the Religious Orientation Scale. Predominantly intrinsic subjects had absorption scores at least 20% higher than did predominantly extrinsic, proreligious, or nonreligious subjects. Prior research has found that absorption and hypnotizability have psychophysiological correlates, and that religiousness shows protective effects against morbidity and mortality. In light of this work, the present findings suggest that certain religious cognitions, emotions, or experiences may generate an internally focused state that enhances health and attenuates disease through self-soothing psychophysiological mechanisms.
Substance abuse and its related problems have become a serious public health issue, particularly in underserved border and rural communities. Conventional therapies have not always been effective. Literature regarding the use of auricular acupressure in substance abuse treatment is limited. To examine the efficacy of auricular acupressure in addition to usual care in substance abuse treatment, which has been limited. This placebo-controlled pilot study was carried out in a community mental health center in a US-Mexico border city (Las Cruces) in southwestern New Mexico. A majority were Hispanic males with an average age of 32.8 years. Participants reported an average lifetime use of drug of choice of 14 years. In addition to usual care, participants received specific acupressure treatment and placebo acupressure treatment. The acupressure treatment was offered once a week for 6 consecutive weeks. The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-20) Depression Scale was administered before and after 6 weeks of treatment to assess changes in emotional distress. Brief Substance Craving Scale was used at baseline and weekly for 6 weeks to assess changes in craving. Both specific and placebo acupressure groups showed a significant reduction in craving at the end of treatment, with the specific acupressure group having a greater and more steady reduction in craving. Both specific acupressure and usual-care-only groups demonstrated a significant reduction in emotional stress. Overall, there was a positive response to the specific auricular acupressure treatment on psychological distress, craving, and drug/alcohol use measures. These encouraging preliminary results need to be duplicated in studies with larger sample sizes and longer treatment phases.
To conduct a pilot study of the effect of intercessory prayer on patients entering treatment for alcohol abuse or dependence. In addition to standard treatment, 40 patients admitted to a public substance abuse treatment facility for treatment of alcohol problems who consented to participate were randomized to receive or not receive intercessory prayer (double-blind) by outside volunteers. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. No differences were found between prayer intervention and nonintervention groups on alcohol consumption. Compared with a normative group of patients treated at the same facility participants in the prayer study experienced a delay in drinking reduction. Those who reported at baseline that a family member or friend was already praying for them were found to be drinking significantly more at 6 months than were those who reported being unaware of anyone praying for them. Greater frequency of prayer by the participants themselves was associated with less drinking, but only at months 2 and 3. Intercessory prayer did not demonstrate clinical benefit in the treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence under these study conditions. Prayer may be a complex phenomenon with many interacting variables.
There has been little research on body therapy for women in sexual abuse recovery. This study examines body-oriented therapy--an approach focused on body awareness and involving the combination of bodywork and the emotional processing of psychotherapy. To examine the efficacy and the perceived influence on abuse recovery of body-oriented therapy. Massage therapy served as a relative control condition to address the lack of touch-based comparisons in bodywork research. A 2-group, repeated measures design was employed, involving randomization to either body-oriented therapy or massage group, conducted in 8, hour-long sessions by 1 of 4 research clinicians. Statistical and qualitative analysis was employed to provide both empirical and experiential perspectives on the study process. Participants were seen in treatment rooms of a university in the northwestern United States and in clinician's private offices. Twenty-four adult females in psychotherapy for child sexual abuse. Body-oriented therapy protocol was delivered in three stages, involving massage, body awareness exercises, and inner-body focusing process. Massage therapy protocol was standardized. Both protocols were delivered over clothes. The outcomes reflected 3 key constructs--psychological well being, physical well-being, and body connection. Repeated measures included: Brief Symptom Inventory, Dissociative Experiences Scale, Crime-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale, Medical Symptoms Checklist, Scale of Body Connection and Scale of Body Investment. Results were gathered at 6 time points: baseline, 2 times during intervention, post-intervention, and at 1 month and 3 months follow-up, To examine the experiential perspective of the study process, written questionnaires were administered before and after intervention and at 1 month and 3 months follow-up. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated significant improvement on all outcome measures for both intervention groups, providing support for the efficacy of body therapy in recovery from childhood sexual abuse. There were no statistically significant differences between groups; however, qualitative analysis of open-ended questions about participant intervention experience revealed that the groups differed on perceived experience of the intervention and its influence on therapeutic recovery.
Top-cited authors
Russell S Phillips
  • Harvard Medical School
Hilary Tindle
  • Vanderbilt University
Rollin McCraty
  • HearthMath Institute
Barry Oken
  • Oregon Health and Science University
Shirley Kishiyama
  • Oregon Health and Science University