Top Hospitals Embrace Alternative Medicine

Top hospitals put unorthodox therapies into practice.


An acupuncturist taps needles into a patient's skin. It is rarely painful.


As executive director of Duke Integrative Medicine, Gaudet was especially receptive to CAM. "She was incredibly relaxed," says Duke otolaryngologist David Witsell, Gaudet's surgeon. "It took very little anesthetic to get her to sleep." And while it can take six months after this procedure to relearn how to swallow and speak, "she was smiling and talking and drinking and laughing the day after surgery," says the surgeon. He and Gaudet recently discussed making the program's CAM services available to all preoperative patients. "That experience with her turned me on to integrative medicine," says Witsell.

"From where I sit," says Gaudet in the center's light-filled lobby, "if we could figure out a way to elicit a full therapeutic response to a placebo, that's not a bad thing—that's a good thing." She considers briefly, then smiles. "I'd call it an 'activated healing response,'" she says.