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In November 1998 it was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that Americans paid more visits to alternative care practitioners in the previous year than to their primary care physicians. Perhaps once considered the faddish refuge of the '60s counterculture, alternative therapies are today, well, a lot less alternative. Demand for them is on the increase, and if a shift in nomenclature offers any further proof, the alternative label is frequently dropped in favor of the word complementary to describe therapies like acupuncture and massage and other non-conventional modalities.

In this edition of Body & Soul we take a look at a few examples of where Eastern therapies are meeting up with Western medical practices to provide patients with the best of both worlds.

First up is a look at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a 14-site multi-specialty medical group practice in the Greater Boston area, whose forward looking administrators created an in-house alternative medicine program that works side-by-side with its conventional physicians.

Then Gail Harris talks with cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, author of Heartbreak and Heart Disease: A Mind/Body Prescription for Healing the Heart. "When a doctor or a health professional nurtures a patient's own healing process, that's when miracles happen," says the physician who has incorporated alternative therapies into his private practice for the past two decades.

Finally, Body & Soul looks at the ancient art of touch therapy called Reiki. Reiki dates back 2,500 years and is gaining wide acceptance as a healing agent that anyone can do.


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Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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