Alternative health care

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By Merilee Dannemann

Workers’ compensation insurers are starting to pay for meditation classes for injured workers.
That’s a milestone worth noting, because work comp is a pretty conservative system and the last place you’d expect to find anything outside the box of conventional medicine.
In most cases, a claims adjuster has to review and approve anything unorthodox before it’s authorized for payment. When work comp payers are paying for alternative therapies, something important is happening in the healthcare system.
There are no statistics, and the numbers are probably small, but alternative therapies are beginning to be accepted, according to presenters at a recent meeting of the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Association.
“Mind-body is the future of medicine,” said Dr. David Lyman, a 20-year occupational medicine physician.
“The acute care models no longer meet our needs.” For workers who don’t recover with conventional treatment, he employs an interdisciplinary approach that includes mental techniques such as biofeedback.
David Lang, a massage and neuromuscular therapist and a former member of the New Mexico Massage Therapy Licensing Board, said New Mexico is a leading state in the development of integrative medicine.

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