For many people, the mere thought of being in the hospital or having a procedure can spike stress levels and trigger anxiety. All this anxiety can make difficult situations worse.
Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine program at Mayo Clinic, leads research into how alternative therapies, when used in conjunction with traditional treatment, can benefit patients.
“Does everyone respond to aromatherapy, of course the answer is no,” says Dr. Bauer. “Does everyone respond to acupuncture? Of course the answer is no. But you find that some people respond tremendously to aromatherapy, acupuncture or lavender massage. And we are grateful to be able to add this in addition [to their other, standard treatments].”
Dr. Bauer discusses two studies. One examined whether or not aromatherapy helped the stress levels of infertile patients undergoing certain procedures and whether this reduced stress helped with conception. The second study explored how interactive music therapy might reduce burden in people with spinal cord injury.
It also describes a third ongoing study on virtual reality. Does putting on gear that transports you into nature help reduce your stress? Listen to find out.
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