Alternative and Complementary Approaches
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the Department of Health and Human Services of the federal government of the United States. NCCAM was established in October 1991, as the Office of Alternative Medicine, which was re-established as NCCAM in October 1998. Its mission is to explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science; training complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers; and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.
Why Alternative and Complementary approaches? Many Americans used mind-body interventions. Practices range from deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery. Some studies have revealed that between 60% and 90% of all physician visits are for stress-related complaints. Through more than 35 years of research and clinical practice, Herbert Benson, MD and colleagues have researched the effectiveness of mind/body medicine in helping thousands of people reduce the stress that can cause or exacerbate conditions such as heart disease, infertility, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, and more.
The Benson-Henry Institute's work is based on the inseparable connection between the mind and the body - the complicated interactions that take place among thoughts, the body, and the outside world. Mind/body medicine integrates modern scientific medicine, psychology, nutrition, exercise physiology and belief to enhance the natural healing capacities of body and mind. The end result is self-care, a complement to the conventional medical paths of surgery and pharmaceuticals.
The mind/body connection interact has important implications for the way we view illness and treat disease. The model takes into account that physical health is influenced by thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and conversely, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be influenced by physical symptoms. Mind/body medicine incorporates the relaxation response, cognitive behavioral approaches, and the role of physical activity and nutrition. Mind/body medicine teaches you how to take control of your life - how to use your own healing power to reduce stress and other negative behaviors and thoughts - and thus maintain or regain health. Mind-body approaches have the potential to assume an important role in promoting wellness and recovery for persons living with mental illness (and possibly could play a role in preventing relapse and the development of other chronic health conditions).
For more information about Alternative and Complementary Approaches please visit the following websites:
Massachusetts General Hospital- Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicinehttp://www.mgh.harvard.edu/bhi/
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicinehttp://nccam.nih.gov/