Effect of Integrative Medicine Services on Pain for Hospitalized Patients at an Academic Health Center

Stephanie D. Clark, Brent A. Bauer, Sairey Vitek, Susanne M. Cutshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Pharmaceuticals such as opioids have routinely been prescribed for pain management. However, there has been an increasing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse, causing demand for nonpharmacologic complementary and integrative therapies for pain management. Objective: To determine if integrative medicine services provided to inpatients could help reduce pain posttreatment. In addition, this study aimed to track total services requested and performed over the fourth quarter of 2017. Design, setting, and participants: This prospective study analyzed documented integrative medicine services requested, indications for the requests, and pre- and posttreatment pain scores. A paired t test was used to determine significance. The study population was inpatients, from October 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017, at Mayo Clinic's Methodist and St. Mary's Hospitals in Rochester, Minnesota. Results: During the study period, 1220 integrative services were provided with a majority being massage therapy (1,064; 87.2%), followed by acupuncture (112; 9.1%). Massage therapy and acupuncture were highly significant (P < 0.00) at reducing pain scores posttreatment to inpatients. Over one-third of patients fell asleep during their therapy service time. Conclusion and relevance: Integrative therapies are appropriate modalities to help alleviate pain and other symptoms for the inpatient population. Due to the effectiveness of these modalities, integrative therapies may be a complement to opioids prescribed for pain. In addition, with over one-third of the patients falling asleep during therapy, our results suggest that integrative therapies can promote a state of relaxation. Future studies are warranted to determine the impact of integrative medicine therapies on sleep deprivation and other common symptoms of hospitalized patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-64
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Acupuncture
  • Complementary therapies
  • Internal medicine
  • Massage therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Nursing(all)
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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