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Study: More Doctors Tell Patients To Seek Alternative Treatments05:55

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The new study says that more doctors are prescribing yoga as treatment. (aquababe/Flickr)
The new study says that more doctors are prescribing yoga as treatment. (aquababe/Flickr)

A new study (PDF) by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Medical Center finds that a growing number of doctors are advising their patients to practice yoga, take up meditation or learn deep breathing techniques.

The national study, published in the current issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, found that more than one third of Americans are seeking alternative care. The study also found that doctors tend to refer sicker patients to alternative therapies more often — it might suggest that doctors are using these therapies as a "last resort" for patients. The study found that mental health professionals were more likely to advise patients to use alternative therapies to help treat depression and anxiety.

The study's author says the large number of physicians referring patients to alternative forms of care shows a shift in the medical community's acceptance of yoga and other therapies as additional forms of health care treatment.


  • Aditi Nerurkar, internist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, study author
  • Rachel Zimmerman, co-host, WBUR's CommonHealth blog


This segment aired on May 10, 2011.

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