How the mind-body connection influences health, wellness and healing from illness
One of the most exciting new fields of medicine is integrative medicine,
the use of mainstream medicine along with complementary therapies to speed
the healing process and prevent disease.
Complementary therapies include energy medicine such as acupuncture and
Reiki, relaxation techniques such as breathing and meditation, certain
exercise systems such as yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong, plus bodywork like massage.
Many of these therapies have been an integral part of medical care around
the world for thousands of years, but only recently have scientists in
the United States performed research to see if they really work.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have studied these complementary
therapies listed above, among others. The results show they ARE effective
at helping the body heal. That’s why Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s
Health and Healing Center offers a variety of complementary therapies
for the community.
“We have services to help speed the healing process for those who
are sick in the hospital,” says Vickie Hershberger, coordinator
of Torrance Memorial’s Health and Healing Program. “We offer
massage, acupressure and reflexology. For people who don’t want
to be touched, we offer Reiki and Healing Touch, which despite its title
is pure energy work. All of our practitioners are trained to deal with
medical issues so you know you’re in safe hands.”
“We also have programs and classes to help keep people healthy so
they don’t end up in the hospital,” explains Vickie. “For
example, we know that most of our health issues have a component that
comes from stress. Our programs and classes are designed to reduce stress
and provide other specific benefits to keep the body healthy and strong.”
Through a generous grant from the Graziadio Wellness Center, Torrance Memorial
also offers a free lecture series to the public featuring world renowned
experts discussing integrative medicine.
“I’m a member of the committee that puts together these lectures
every year,” explains Robert Swift, M.D., primary care physician.
“Recently we had Jon Fonseca talk about brain therapy. He’s
a neurofeedback clinician with extensive experience helping those who
suffer with depression, anxiety, insomnia and ADHD. Among other things,
he recommended meditation, which is proven by MRI to be good for the brain.”
For more information on Torrance Memorial’s many programs and classes
that improve the mind-body connection, see the Classes and Events section
starting on page 7.
What Is The Scientific Evidence For Integrative Medicine?
Chronic pain from arthritis, injuries or severe headaches? Scientific evidence from the National Institutes of Health shows that
acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, massage and relaxation techniques can help
you manage pain and improve range of motion.
Unsteady on your feet from age, Parkinson’s or other conditions? A clinical study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found
Tai Chi results in improvements in balance and stability.
Undergoing cancer treatment? Scientific evidence from the National Institutes of Health suggests that
acupuncture and reflexology can help to manage side effects of chemotherapy
and may reduce pain.
Dealing with anxiety, depression or insomnia? Scientific evidence from the National Institutes of Health suggests that
relaxation techniques can reduce anxiety, depression and promote better,
more restful sleep.
For more information on complementary therapies and research into their
efficacy go to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
website at www.nccih.nih.gov, click “Health Info” and then
What is integrative medicine?
The National Institutes of Health defines integrative medicine as “combining
mainstream medical therapies and complementary alternative medicine (CAM)
therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of
safety and effectiveness.”