Healing the body by healing the mind

This is how Integrative Medicine Manages to Achieve Better Results with Patients.

 Medical Care” geriatric hospital  (photo credit: Nili Tzur)
Medical Care” geriatric hospital
(photo credit: Nili Tzur)

The relationship between emotional health and physical health has been long determined, however, only in recent years, the US health system has begun offering IM treatments in integrative health centers. These are hospitals which enhance medical treatments with emotional, mental and nutritional support. Now, a new integrative hospital has been established in Israel too. Groundbreaking research results, after studying patients who have been treated with Integrative Medicine, raise the question: why is this method not applied in all medical institutions?

On July 2022, last month, in Israel, a new hospital has opened its doors: however, it is nothing like the everyday regular hospitals with which you are probably familiar following your personal experience. The new rehabilitative geriatric hospital “Medical Care” in the city of Bat Yam, is the first hospital in Israel to specialize in integrative health care, bringing together advanced medicinal services to heal the body, and ancient traditional treatment methods to heal the soul, parallelly.

Much has been said about the correlation between the body and the mind. Extensive research has proven that our mental health has a sincere effect on our physical health. This notion serves as the basic concept on which integrative medicine leans, and is probably the reason why IM has become widely practiced recently in the USA, despite having originated largely from the east.

"Medical Care” geriatric hospital (Credit: Nili Tzur)"Medical Care” geriatric hospital (Credit: Nili Tzur)

Currently, more than one hundred American hospitals have embraced the method into their practice, including the University of Chicago Medical Center, Stanford Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente chain of health care centers, to name just a few. 

Integrative Medicine is centered around a program developed by Heart Math Institute. This medical academic-research institute has designed a program for developing psychological resilience and for creating strategies to cope with stress. The program is, of course, based on extensive research.

The growing popularity of IM in the US has also prompted a lot of research which supports this method’s efficiency, not only due to the patients’ satisfaction (and very high rates have been noted) but also due to real data showing actual improvements in health, for patients treated in integrative medical centers. 

For example, in a program for HP employees in the United States, participants who suffered from high blood pressure showed a 20% decrease in blood pressure measurements. Another research with diabetic patients reported an improvement of 30% in life quality measurements, as well as a 1.1% decrease in glucose rates, compared to those taken three months before the treatment.

Research performed with cardio patients in Stanford Medical Center and Kaiser, found that after the program, 75% of all participants experienced a significant reduction in occurrences of arrhythmia, and 20% managed to quit medication altogether following their participation. 

Research conducted on asthmatic patients by the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey, found that more than half the participants experienced a significant reduction in occurrences of asthmatic episodes, and many of them managed to decrease the frequency of inhaler usage.

Integrative Medicine has not only medical advantages, but also carries substantial economic implications. It has been found that patients receiving integrative medicine treatments, managed to save an average of 600 dollars annually (for each patient) on their private health expenses, and in addition to that, thousands of dollars were saved by the health care system. Integrative treatments also have been known to reduce the number of recurring admissions to hospitals for treatments, saving millions of dollars in expenses to the health care systems. 

It has also been found that patients’ satisfaction rates have increased considerably. For example, at the Chicago Medical Center, after having initiated the integrative medical plan, patient satisfaction surged from 73% to a whopping 93% within the first year. Up until this day, six years later, this exclusive hospital has managed to maintain its patient satisfaction rates at over 90% every single year.   

The positive turn is also evident among employees in health care institutions. In the past five years, the Chicago Medical Center has managed to sustain leadership in this area, ranking top of the list for employee satisfaction, and lately received a special award from the American Congress for innovative management. 

It is now apparent that the innovative (and so logical) concept, by which the staff’s inevitable burnout ends up undermining the quality of the service and treatments provided to the patients, has finally been set in. Many medical institutions in the US enrolled their employees into Heart-Math Institute’s programs for building psychological resilience and coping with stress.

Staff members who participated in the programs were interviewed before and after. Results are very clear-cut: a sharp improvement in every possible measurement. For example, within a large group of surgeons, 53% reported severe fatigue before the program, and two weeks after, this number decreased down to 12% only. Also, before the program, 35% of the surgeons reported being overcome with worries, and 18% claimed that they were not happy. After the program these numbers decreased to 6% and 3% respectively. 

In light of research, and following the quick growth of the IM prevalence in the United States, medical services suppliers in Israel too have realized how beneficial Integrative Medicine can be. Today, several central and major health centers have opened IM departments. “Medical Care” is, however, the first geriatric rehabilitative hospital in Israel that includes Integrative Medicine therapy treatments as integral elements in its basic protocol – offered and served to all patients without distinction.

“Medical Care” plans to invest millions of NIS in order to turn the hospital into a cutting-edge health center that provides top conditions for rehabilitation and healing through intensive advanced medical treatments for the body, and a wide range of integrative treatments for the soul.

What does integrative medicine include? The rooms will be designed to offer convenience and abundant spaces. You will not find more than two patients in a room. There will also be several private rooms. However, this is only the beginning. Each room will carry a sound system to enable each patient to choose any relaxing music of preference. The lighting in the rooms will always be warm and pleasant, unlike the familiar florescent lighting that we are familiar with in general hospitals. The food served to each patient will be determined following a personal consultation with a naturopath. The institution will offer group and individual meetings and workshops to family members who are also dealing with severe challenges due to their family members’ health conditions. All of these treatments, mental, emotional and nutritional, will be provided in addition to the medical treatments that each patient requires.

This article was written in cooperation with Medical care towers - Integrative medicine center.