The Extra Value of Complementary and Alternative Care

The Extra Value of Complementary and Alternative Care
Highlights from keynote speaker Lynne Bentley
at LifeSpark’s-Touching Tomorrow event October 28,2016

Lynne Bentley, PhD, MBA, RN, AOCNS is the Director of the Cancer Centers of Colorado at Saint Joseph Hospital. Since 2000, she has been involved in promoting Integrative Care Services in all three Denver area SCLHS Hospitals.
LifeSpark is a not-for-profit organization that is staffed by volunteer Healing Touch and Reiki practitioners, who provide free sessions to cancer patients.


According to Bentley, it has been demonstrated that holistic approaches “place the patient at the center of the care and address the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. They promote prevention by engaging the whole person in attaining a personalized lifestyle that supports health.”

Research shows that complementary therapies can produce outcomes comparable to conventional care but are less expensive so more people with less means “can improve their quality of life”.  Insurance companies are seeking related research to evaluate the reduction of cost, while maintaining or even improving outcomes.

Bentley went on to list three integrative strategies that would have “significant health benefits and cost savings”:

1.        Integrative lifestyle change programs. These include encouraging nutrition, relaxation, calming interventions, time in nature, (spiritual connection) and moderate exercise. This also includes “events and experiences that create a sense of love, intimacy, and emotional well-being which can mitigate and sometimes even reverse the progression of many chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolemia.”
2.      Integrative interventions. Supportive interventions are critical particularly for people experiencing pain, depression, or anxiety. Acupuncture and acupressure are excellent to control pain. Energy work such as Healing Touch can build resiliency. In 2000, a non-experimental survey study found that patients who were offered a combination of Healing Touch, acupuncture, massage, before, during and after surgery reduced their length of hospital stay and the dosage of pain medication during and post-surgery.
3.      Integrative preventive strategies.  A study on behavioral/mental health shows substantial benefit revealing the “results suggest significant benefit to regular and sustained use of any CAM (complimentary alternative medicine) technique in preventing and reducing the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. In addition, costs have been estimated to be reduced by nearly 50% using CAM versus sole usage of conventional medical care and best outcomes appear to happen with a combination of CAM and conventional medical care.”

Research demonstrates that the use of Integrative/CAM therapies and interventions result in lower costs of care with comparable and sometimes better outcomes than conventional medicine.

Benefits of using both modalities (conventional and CAM combined) outweigh the benefits of using only one method.

Care has to be designed to treat the whole person and address all the factors that influence health and disease. It is the combined effort that produces sustainable results.

Gratitude to Dr Lynne Bentley for providing the materiel for this informative article
The Center for Integrative Medicine  (CIM) at Good Samaritan Cancer Center offers all the CAM modalities mentioned in this blog.  For more information, contact CIM at 303-673-1615

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