September 15, 2008

Hospitals Offering Massages, Acupuncture

U.S. hospitals are increasingly adding complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, to conventional services, the American Hospital Association said.

A survey by the AHA's Health Forum found 37 percent of responding hospitals offer one or more CAM therapies, up from 26.5 percent in 2005. Eighty-four percent of the hospitals indicated patient demand as the primary reason for offering the alternative therapies -- such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, herbal medicine and massage therapy -- while 67 percent said clinical effectiveness was the main reason.

The AHA said most of the services are not reimbursable by insurance and are paid for out-of-pocket by patients.

"Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing," Rich Umbdenstock. AHA president and CEO, said in a statement. "It's one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve."