Advancements in Integrative Medicine

As part of the academic practice of Integrative Medicine, we will highlight significant developments in the field that contribute to its practice, policy and accessibility.

  • An essential trial milestone: the development of an acupuncture consensus intervention protocol
    Arya Nielsen, PhD of the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health at Mount Sinai helped develop an acupuncture intervention protocol for an NIH-funded pragmatic randomized controlled trial (PRCT) of acupuncture for chronic low back in older adults (the BackInAction trial). The protocol includes steps/staging of care and recommendations for session length, number of needle insertion sites, insertion depths, needle retention times, recommended types of needles, areas of the body to be treated, acupuncture point and auricular point options, self-care, and minimum number of sessions considered ideal. Click here for the full text of the article.

  • COVID Coping: The Potential of Dot Phrases to Allow for Quick Uptake of Integrative Health Approaches. Anup Bhandiwad and colleagues, Univ of Michigan. 2021 Integrative Medicine & Health Symposium Abstracts, page 26. 

  • The Society for Integrative Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology are developing three evidence-based clinical guidelines for integrative therapies in oncology care:
    1) cancer-related pain management, 2) fatigue in cancer survivors, and 3) anxiety and depressive symptoms in those with cancer. These will provide clinicians and patients guidance on effective and safe treatment of common cancer symptoms and side effects using integrative approaches.

  • Since January 2020, CMS has covered acupuncture for Medicare patients with chronic low back pain. It can be performed by physicians who meet state requirements as well as PAs, NPs/CNS and auxiliary personnel who are fully licensed in that state, have a masters or doctoral-level degree in acupuncture from an ACAOM-accredited school and are supervised by appropriate medical personnel.

  • The Dept of Family Medicine in collaboration with The Institute for Family Health (IFH) and teams at Kaiser Permanente (CA and WA) and Sutter Health (CA) are conducting research as part of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) 4-year grant funded by the NCCIH. “Pragmatic Trial of Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain in Older Adults” began with a pilot feasibility study recruiting IFH patients 65 years of age or older.  As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Network, IFH is a unique research partner providing care to underserved patients who often have poor access to non-pharmacological pain treatments. The IFH team includes Principle Investigator Raymond Teets, MD and Acupuncture Research Consultant Arya Nielsen, PhD.