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Army Offers Wider Alternative Medicine Choices

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U.S. Army
Monday, August 14, 2017

Service members seeking alternative medicine such as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic and hypnosis treatment are more likely to find it in the Army than in the other services, according to a new RAND Corp. report.

Chiropractic is the most frequently used alternative treatment, followed by acupuncture and massage, based on procedures delivered each year, even though it is not the most widely available, says RAND’s report on the Military Health System. For treatment centers offering alternative medicine, 75 percent make stress management and relaxation therapy available, 69 percent offer acupuncture and half provide chiropractic service, muscle relaxation and meditation. Yoga, biofeedback and diet therapy are offered at about 24 percent.

The Army is not only the most likely service to offer complementary and alternative medicine to patients, but is far more likely to offer a variety of alternatives to traditional medicine, according to the report.

Based on a survey of the 142 Military Treatment Facilities operated around the globe by the Defense Department, RAND found 83 percent offer some type of complementary or alternative medicine to patients, 14 percent don’t and have no plans to do so, and 4 percent don’t but plan to offer some in the future.

The primary reason for not offering alternative medicine is the lack of proficient providers, according to the service. The top reason it is offered is the benefit to chronic disease management, but patient preference is another big factor.