iSAW 02.17 Innovation, Integration, and Inclusiveness

It’s often quoted that when Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western civilization, his reply was that he thought it would be a good idea. My question to you is: what do you think of integrative medicine? Integrative medicine could be defined as a health system making connections between all aspects of human wellbeing and disease. Complementary medicine could be considered anything not taught at medical school. But will western medicine embrace the more homespun complementary and alternative medicine? A problem for a liaison with CAM lies in the burden of proof. Who’s doing the research that makes CAM bona fide?

Boston Goes Integrative

Dr. Helene Langevin, Director of The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in Boston recently hosted the inaugural ‘Integrative Medicine Research Forum’. This was an historic event. The Osher group allies with the world famous institutions like the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This well attended gathering at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, included CAM pioneer David Eisenberg, now at the Samueli Institute. Other speakers represented institutes that research and deliver acupuncture, chiropractic, movement & stretch, yoga, tai chi, hands-on therapies, as well as transcendental meditation, mindfulness, cognitive behavior therapy, wellness coaching, and even placebo. I highly recommend that you hit this MAP box to show how the 19 institutions employing 670 published researchers link to each other.

Poster Children

Some of the subjects covered in the 38 poster presentations included the fibroblast response to stretch, the positive psychological states of young musicians with yoga, the use of virtual patient advocates, primary care expenditures by refugees before and after acupuncture, tissue stretching to reduce inflammation, the effects of Tai Chi training on standing postural control, CAM use by pregnant and post-partum women, mindfulness for victims and responders of the Boston marathon bombing, and the effects of anxiety and depression on healthy lifestyles. The winning subject explored the changes in longitudinal brain structure after meditation training.

People Might Actually Get Better

Gandhi lived in a society embracing Ayurvedic medicine, one of the most enduring health systems. Dewanchand Varma (1866-1950), also from India, travelled to Europe and developed a form of bodywork that later became known as neuromuscular therapy. There is a book out about the work of Varma called Pranotherapy. Varma’s success in Paris in the 1930’s led to conventional medicine practitioners trying to shut him down. At 360 NMT, conventional medicine is not trying to shut us down. In fact, 60% of our referrals come from allopathic health professionals. We integrate NMT with acupuncture, trigger point dry needling, Pilates and movement correction. The success of this unique clinical approach has led to collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships with the very inclusive and forward thinking medical community of Boston!