Lifewatch: Alternative medicine

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - While many businesses are cutting health coverage to balance the struggling economy, there's at least one company that is helping their employees stay healthy by offering an alternative.

More than 80 million Americans use alternative medicine each year, and employees at one workplace in Ohio can now find the medicine by just taking a walk down the hall.

Duana Eschenbaum is a computer programmer at Parker, a global leader in motion and control technologies.  Long hours at the computer can often equate to aches and pains, so Eschenbaum started using the company's alternative health options.

"The acupuncture was the first thing I went for and that was mostly for relief of pain in my neck and it was like immediate - it was great," said Eschenbaum.

Complementary alternative medicine includes acupuncture, biofeedback, chelation therapy, hypnotherapy, nutrition, and massage.

"You're looking at preventing illness to begin with," said VP of human resources Dan Serbin. "That's the whole philosophy behind it. So we want to not treat illness but keep people from becoming ill."

The patient rooms are actually in the workplace so Eschenbaum doesn't have far to go.

"Now you can just walk downstairs have your treatment and go back to work," said Eschenbaum.

Massage and acupuncture are the most popular.  Typically patients start coming for pain management, but then learn new things.

"We see that there's many other things we can do to help them, and they see there's other lifestyle changes and nutrition and a lot of differences we can make in their life," said Dr. Laura DeVincentis.

"We're starting to see is lower utilization of prescription drugs so healthier employees, more productive employees," said Serbin.

Employees also say the treatments help them feel better even when they weren't necessarily under the weather - now they rarely miss work due to illness or colds.