Research: LUSKIN and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 28


LUSKIN and colleagues, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program, Stanford University, California USA conducted a review of the research literature (181 references) regarding complementary and alternative, specifically mind-body techniques for cardiovascular disorders.



Computerised searches were conducted using MEDLINE, PsychInfo, Stanford Library, Dissertation Abstracts, Lexus-Nexus, the Internet, and interviews with practitioners. All published studies since 1990 examining mind-body treatments of cardiovascular disorders in the elderly were included. Mind-body practices evaluated were social support, cognitive- behavioural treatment, meditation, the placebo effect, hope, faith, imagery, spiritual healing, music therapy, hypnosis, yoga, t'ai chi, qigong and aikido. A priority was given to studies conducted after 1990, but when more recent literature was scarce, other studies using randomised controlled trials were included.


Mind-body techniques were found to be effective mainly as complementary and sometimes as stand-along alternative treatments for cardiovascular conditions. The studies provided evidence for treatment efficacy, but there is an evident need for further controlled research.


There were merely a handful of randomised controlled research studies conducted in the United States, and the authors conclude that as a result, there was a lack of replicated studies by which to determine appropriate treatment dosage and the mechanism of action of these practices. Due to compelling anecdotal evidence, the presence of some controlled research, overall cost effectiveness and the lack of side effects, further investigation is a high priority.


Luskin FM et al. A review of mind-body therapies in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Part 1: Implications for the elderly. Altern Ther Health Med. 4(3): 46-61. May 1998.


This collection of references ought to be exceedingly valuable. I trust that properly conducted research outside of the USA qualifies as legitimate research and these authors will not be waiting until all research is replicated in the US! @i:33

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