Newly blended collaborations on the integrative health landscape:

  • MD Anderson: $4.5 mm for study of Yoga and Cancer
  • Greenwhich (CT) Hospital: Healing Touch brings faster recuperation
  • Review of 14-years of research shows benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

MD Anderson: $4.5 mm for study of Yoga and Cancer
MD Anderson Hospital at the University of Texas, one of the nation’s leading cancer centers, reported earlier this year that it had received $4.5 million from the National Cancer Institute to study the efficacy of including yoga into treatment programs for women with breast cancer.   The head of the hospital’s integrative medicine program, Lorenzo Cohen PhD said, “Research has shown that yoga and other types of mind-body practices, incorporated into the standard of care, can help improve patient outcomes, particularly quality of life.”

Cohen led two previous studies with breast cancer patients that showed benefits when compared with simple stretching or no physical activity. The hospital has enrolled up to 600 patients with stage 0 – 3 breast cancer all undergoing radiation therapy at MD Anderson.


Greenwhich (CT) Hospital: Healing Touch brings faster recuperation

Greenwhich Hospital, a major academic affiliate of the Yale School of Medicine, has joined the growing number of hospitals now providing healing touch therapy, that has been shown to help a patient’s body recover and heal from surgery, labor and delivery and cancer treatments. “Healing touch” is a gentle, non-invasive therapy that has been show to facilitate the relaxation response that in turn helps reduce pain, anxiety and promotes sleep and rest during recovery from medical procedures. The service is provided also by the hospital’s center for integrative medicine at Cos Cob, CT and is available at home, in schools and workplaces.


Research shows “stronger evidence base” for Qigong and Tai Chi

The July/August 2010 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, reported on 77 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on Qigong or Tai Chi interventions published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993 and 2007. The studies included 6,410 participants.

Reported in Health Behavior News Service, the review concludes that the findings “provide a ‘stronger evidence base’ for bone health, cardio-respiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and psychological benefits.” Participants’ average age was 55, and for studies that looked at balance, 80 was the average age.

One of the major inhibitors to adoption of health-inducing practices like these has been the difficulty of examining their results as part of Random Controlled Trials (RCTs). Shin Lin, PhD, professor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine (not part of the review) commented: “The research studies reviewed here showed that simplified routines that are more practical for RCTs are in fact quite effective in health enhancement.” (Lin is a member of the National Advisory Council for Complimentary and Alterative Medicine, an external body of NCCAM at the National Institutes of Health.)

“Tai Chi and Qigong,” Lin said, “Should be considered a high priority when one is selecting an exercise to practice.”