More and more conventional doctors are recommending mind-body therapies to their patients, according to a new study from the Archives of Internal Medicine. Looking at data from a survey of more than 23,000 U.S. households, the study authors found that one in 30 Americans using mind-body therapies had been referred by a medical provider.
The study also found that those referred to mind-body therapies by their medical providers were sicker than individuals who sought out such therapies on their own. "What we learned suggests that providers are referring their patients for mind-body therapies as a last resort once conventional therapeutic options have failed," states lead study author Aditi Nerurkar, M.D. "It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health care system, and possibly, better outcomes for these patients."