Enhancing Our Knowledge to Advocate for Patients: Examining the Evidence for the Use of Complementary/Integrative Therapies for Health

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 9:10 AM

Cathy St. Pierre, PhD, APRN, FAANP
Clinical Services-Nursing, Edith Nourse Rogers VA Memorial Hospital, Bedford, MA

Learning Objective 1: 1) Discuss current research evidence for the use of complementary/integrative therapies such as natural products, acupuncture, massage and yoga in treating chronic medical conditions.

Learning Objective 2: 2) Describe the types of complementary/integrative modalities that are most efficaious in the treatment of common medical conditions in conjunction with traditional treatments.

The use of Complementary/Integrative therapies is growing rapidly as estimates indicate that up to 50% of the United States population is currently spending over $34 billion dollars on these modalities.  The top ten most commonly used complementary/integrative therapies (CIT) include: natural products such as Omega fish oil, progressive relaxation exercises, meditation, massage and yoga.  Often, consumers are utilizing these modalities without the knowledge of current research evidence that substantiates the effectiveness of these modalities on certain medical conditions.  In addition, their health care providers are not aware that they are utilizing this CIT and therefore, can offer no guidance. In some cases, the CIT that a patient/consumer has selected to use may not be effective and could be detrimental to their health status.  Health care providers play a pivotal role in educating patients/consumers regarding the safety and efficacy of CIT.   The purpose of this workshop is to describe and discuss current evidence based research outcomes that support or refute the use of complementary/integrative therapies in treating common medical conditions.  Common CITs’ such as natural products, acupuncture, meditation, massage and yoga will be included.