I attended a presentation given by the Dr. Brent Bauer of the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/bio/10328319.html) last Monday night.  The presentation was promoted with the title “Needles and Herbs and Dogs, Oh My!” and I mistakenly thought that it would be about using Chinese Medicine for animals.  It turns out that they used that title to illustrate that mainstream medicine has historically regarded anything not taught in med school as “scary” and he included many references to the “Wizard of Oz” throughout the presentation….  Fortunately, times are changing and “mainstream medicine” is evolving.

Dr Bauer spoke about the complementary modalities that they have introduced into many of their protocols:  acupuncture, herbs, meditation, yoga, and massage.  They have licensed acupuncturists and massage therapists on staff and are using these modalities with increasing frequency.

He specifically cited an acupuncture study that they did a few years back with fibromyalgia patients.  There were 50 patients in the study, 25 in the control group and 25 in the acupuncture group.  The acupuncture group received real acupuncture treatment and the control group received sham acupuncture (needles inserted into non-acupuncture points).  The symptoms were significantly improved in the acupuncture group, with fatigue and anxiety being the most improved symptoms.  The effects of acupuncture were still felt 7 months post-treatment.  Specific information about the study is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16770975.

They are also using service dogs, specifically “Dr Jack” to help patients with rehabilitation and to ease the minds of kids visiting the hospital.  More information about Dr Jack is at http://www.mayoclinic.org/annualreport/2010/patient_care/drjack.html.