Wellness and Complementary Medicine

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Practicing MindfulnessA Journey Into Yin YogaA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Student's Guide to the History And Philosophy of Yoga A.M. EnergyAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAlready FreeAlternative Medicine?AltruismAnd BreatheAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBack To Basics: Fitness with Charlotte OrdBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutBeyond the SelfBody By BethennyBody Mindful YogaBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBreath-Centered YogaBrightening Our Inner SkiesCalm Body Clear MindCalm Focus JoyCardio for Beginners with Petra KolberChakra MeditationsComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCultural Healing and Belief SystemsDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDeep ListeningDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDetox YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Yoga House CallEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Everything VeganExercise for Mood and AnxietyExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily ForagingFamily YogaFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFood You Can ForageFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Fit Through GardeningGet Ripped & ChiseledGet RIPPED! 1000 #3Get RIPPED! and Jacked - The Boomer WorkoutGet Stronger Bones: 3 Workouts For OsteoporosisHandbook of MindfulnessHappy Yoga DVDHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing through ExerciseHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealing, Hype, or Harm?Healthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHow to Be a StoicHow to Cook Everything VegetarianHow Would Buddha Act?In Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangIntegrated YogaInternational Perspectives on Reminiscence, Life Review and Life Story WorkKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKripalu YogaKundalini Yoga : DVDKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga MeditationKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLetting Go!LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLunar Flow YogaMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMeditations for BeginnersMind GamesMindful AmericaMindful ColoringMindfulnessMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness for CarersMindfulness for TwoMindfulness in Plain EnglishMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMisadventures of a Garden State YogiMotivational YogaNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1Natural FlexibilityNew Good FoodNew VegetarianNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNutrition Essentials for Mental HealthPain Free at WorkPeace Is Every BreathPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPower Yoga: Strength and FlexibilityPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodRadiant Heart Yoga DVDReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRelax Into Yoga for SeniorsResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSelfless InsightSleepSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStress Relief to GoStretchStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Zen Tummy TonersThe 6 Qualities of ConsciousnessThe Accidental VeganThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Best Things You Can EatThe Bodymind Ballwork MethodThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Get Healthy, Go Vegan CookbookThe Harvard Medical School Guide to YogaThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Light of DiscoveryThe Mandala of BeingThe Meat Lover's Meatless CookbookThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Nature FixThe Origins of HappinessThe Perfect ExerciseThe Psychology of LifestyleThe Qi Healing KitThe Road to Calm WorkbookThe Science of SleepThe Science of YogaThe Sense of SelfThe Spirit of Buddhist MeditationThe Spirit of Tibetan BuddhismThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Ultra MindsetThe Way We Eat NowThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Yin Yoga KitTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Cardio Dance FlowTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaUnderstanding the PelvisV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Visitor 2008VegetarianoViniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWeight Watchers: Ultimate Belly SeriesYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYoga - Philosophy for EveryoneYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga as MedicineYoga Bliss HipsYoga BodyYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Emergency DVD: PregnancyYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for AthletesYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for FitnessYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for Your WeekYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress ReliefYoga Quick FixesYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga TherapyYoga TherapyYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga, Karma, and RebirthYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaZen Encounters with Loneliness

Related Topics
Complementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchReview - Complementary and Alternative Therapies Research
by Tiffany Field
American Psychological Association, 2009
Review by Roy Sugarman, Ph.D.
Oct 13th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 42)

So much for these therapies being 'flakey'.  Dr Field is a serious and acknowledged researcher in the field, and holds appointment and has received awards in and from prestigious universities and societies, as well as publishing hundreds of journal articles, and many books, of which this is the latest.

She thus sets about demonstrating the evidence base for therapies that can be combined with psychotherapy, and the evidence for the success or lack of it in doing so.

In this way, she takes on Massage therapy, Acupressure, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Yoga, Pilates, Exercise as a whole, Music Therapy, Aromatherapy, Progressive muscle relaxation, Imagery, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, Meditation, and so on, including what works in children.  Elsewhere in the book , she looks at resources for complementary medicine, training and credentialing of therapists, what works for what illnesses or conditions, and the origins of the therapies above as an alternative or complementary set of approaches.

Suffice it to say it's a thinnish book, despite being thorough.  She notes she could only find two decent studies on combining complementary therapies with psychotherapy, specifically in depression.  These two studies cover CBT and mindfulness, and interpersonal therapy combined with massage therapy.   There are a myriad of lighter weight studies and concepts examined, such as light music or incense/oil burners in a therapy room, through to movement or massage being incorporated, or being practiced at a separate venue.  Many of the subjects examined in the book, as listed above, are already part of many standard approaches to psychological intervention, such as relaxation, hypnosis and biofeedback to name a few.

She spends some time on the origins of complementary and alternative therapies, eg Ayurvedic medicine (not much research) and Chinese medicine ( a lot of evidence in many conditions) , Shamanism (weakest support of all approaches for efficacy), Homeopathy (highly individualized, with contradictory results), Native American Medicine (no standardized data, but high acceptance in 80% of patients), Naturopathy (individualized, but with seemingly good results in some conditions, studies not scientific though), Osteopathy (hard to evaluate as it is conventional medicine-friendly, but more expensive), Chiropractic (only modest evidence despite widespread acceptance in nonjoint problems) and so Field must conclude that although most of the evidence is from Zero impact journals, or in non-English speaking journals, there is good evidence to support many alternatives to the standard approaches, and many are highly effective in certain conditions.

Massage therapy in particular has been shown to enhance the activity of the Vagal system, leading to a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, and perceived stress, changes in the EEG, higher dopamine and serotonin levels versus lower epinephrine and cortisol levels, and with applications in pre and post natal depression, borderline personality disorders, bulimia, smoking cessation, anorexia nervosa, pain syndromes with evidence of lowered substance P measures, lower adrenergic levels, and in headaches, a good response to migraine as well. MS and Parkinson's patients also declared benefits, as did those with objective measures of wellbeing in hypertension, CVD, the immune system in cancer patients, and in HIV patients. There are successful findings in sport and injury as well, as expected, and acupressure and reflexology are also examined here.

Acupuncture in particular longer duration manual acupuncture, has been demonstrated to have the most effect on different parts of the brain.  The only problem is that sham procedures often produce significant brain effects as well. As the world overall accepts, placebo is a real effect, not psychological, but accompanied by brain changes. In this way, some forms of acupuncture are effect irrespective of where the needles are placed, eg in auricular acupuncture in smoking cessation, but in others, e.g., cocaine users, only in the 'correct' locations.  Similarly, outcome expectations will also affect results. There is apparently a correlation between acupuncture and local nitrous oxide levels, and patients with fibromyalgia may benefit.  Neck pain and back pain may benefit. Evidence in more severe musculoskeletal conditions and neurological disorders is scarce and contradictory.  Some effects in ulcerative colitis may be noteworthy, but moxibustion may also help in such cases (little dirt cones piled on acupuncture sites).

Movement such as that in Tai Chi and Chi Gong is expected to work, given our sedentary lives, and it does. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rate, aerobic measures, EEG, pain, osteoporosis, immune conditions such as HIV and cancers all show changes along with the obvious physical benefits. Age is not immune, and so in one study at least, older Tai Chi practitioners (and Golfers!) were able to compare performances with young university students in reaction times and leaning flexibility. Chi Gong has less impressive characteristics, but there is some evidence.

Yoga appears to increase vagal activity and reduce cortisol, and can improve various medical conditions such as pain, migraine, insomnia, hypertension and so on.  Anxiety, depression, sleep, all show improvements.  A host of conditions respond to yoga and Pilates.

The benefits of exercise are well known, and accepted, and there is an emerging trend in books anyway from authors such as John Ratey that the benefits to both body and brain are extensive and way in excess of what has been traditionally accepted to be the case.

Music therapy has also received attention, increasing blood flow in reward and arousal areas of the brain, and with a role in anxiety, depression, and a large number of more serious mental conditions.  The list of conditions here studied is really large, more so than exercise for instance. T cells and killer cells increase, cortisol decreases and so on, as for other interventions, but in some ways, for many more conditions across the board.

Field continues in this vein for the treatments noted above, demonstrating in each case the benefits of each intervention as studied in various conditions.

Interestingly, the human responses are not just in certain conditions, but in multiple, suggesting this less targeted approach is universally better for the body and brain complex.  However, whilst medicine may target individual complaints or conditions, there appear to be benefits in some conditions and not others, but mostly, intervening for one thing may improve other things in a single person.

Many of the interventions are highly personalized, and with the entire field of personalized medicine, one size fits all randomized control studies may not be possible, as in homeopathy for instance.

Field has done extensive work with touch, and this is evidenced in the chapter on children, a small but compelling one. Evidence is presented for glucose levels and peak airflow in particular that is most impressive.  The role of exercise in children, especially in a new generation of sedentary indoor kids, is well established, and her results as presented here are accepted widely.  The most frequent intervention in children was in those with autism and attentional disorders, with nearly all being supplemented with some complementary or alternative intervention.

Field has produced a sound and comprehensive work, arguing impassively for consideration to be given to complementary and alternative approaches to most conditions, with few exceptions, but with some reservations mentioned in some treatments noted above. She has produced a very welcome and useful work, for things to do when what you do is not working entirely as you want it, and as a way of empowering patients to do more, and safely so.  For overall, there is virtually not a word given to side effects and very few to contraindications, hence, the popularity of many of these interventions.


© 2009 Roy Sugarman



Roy Sugarman PhD: Director of Applied Neuroscience, Human Performance Institute, Sydney, Australia


Welcome to Metapsychology.

Note that Metapsychology will be moving to a new server in January 2020. We will not put up new reviews during the transition. We thank you for your support and look forward to coming back with a revised format.

We feature over 8300 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716