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Acupuncture in Hospitals

A survey of nearly 1,400 U.S. hospitals shows more medical institutions are providing complementary and alternative therapies to meet the growing demand for acupuncture among patients. The benefits of acupuncture, in particular, are now recognized by much of the medical establishment. Western doctors see acupuncture as a complementary treatment and as stand-alone therapy for some conditions. Many doctors now make referrals to acupuncturists without reservation. In fact, there is a growing trend among medical doctors to learn acupuncture themselves, though the amount of required training for an MD is far less than a licensed acupuncturist without a medical degree.

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"More and more, patients are requesting care beyond what most consider to be traditional health services," say researchers Sita Ananth of Health Forum and William Martin, PsyD, of the College of Commerce at DePaul University in Chicago. "And hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve by offering these therapies." Alternative care provided by hospitals on an outpatient basis may include acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, tai chi, yoga, diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, and massage therapy, among others. According to a study in 2002, 39% of hospitals are offering acupuncture for outpatient care and 11% offer acupuncture as part of inpatient services.

Findings of surveys from 2002 to 2006:

  • Teaching hospitals accounted for 36 percent of hospitals offering alternative services.

  • Most hospitals that offer alternative therapies are in urban areas and have more than 100 beds.

  • Most alternative therapy services are paid for by patients as an out-of-pocket medical expense.
    2006 found that 1 in every 4 hospitals offer alternative therapies 


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