Sunday, July 5, 2009

Can Kids Be Healed by Alternative Medicine?

Some of the nation's top hospitals are embracing alternative medicine to supplement traditional healing. Are we onto something?

Danny Hauser made national headlines when he and his mom, Colleen, fled for Mexico to seek an alternative cure for his cancer. Though he was ordered to complete his chemo, the Hauser family attributes the shrinking of his tumor to the use of vitamins and minerals.

The Hauser family isn't alone. These days, people are flocking to the Mexican border hoping to find an alternative cure for the sick. But, rather than replacing one treatment for another, one in four American hospitals are now offering a combination of both.

At Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, children are now getting alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and yoga to help them handle pain and anxiety. Elite hospitals including the Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, and Beth Israel Hospital in New York City are embracing "CAM," or complementary and alternative medicine, to supplement traditional treatment.

CAM may include therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Fashion designer Donna Karan has partnered with NYC's Beth Israel Medical Center to test the effectiveness of yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy treatments against cancer over the course of a year. Donna Karen's foundation funded the program, and gave $850,000 to the hospital, hoping to find proof that these kinds of treatments alleviate cancer symptoms like pain, nausea, and anxiety. If this proves to be true, the techniques would reduce the length and cost of hospital stays.

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