SOURCE: Sage Tonic

June 09, 2015 08:30 ET

New Research Reveals Integrated Health Programs Lower Stress & Anxiety in Youths

Groundbreaking Evidence-Based Approach Yields 30% Reduction in Stress Levels for Boston Teens

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Jun 9, 2015) - New research conducted by Dr. Nada Milosavljevic (Dr. Milo), "Integrative Health Services in School Health Clinics," has been published in the most recent issue of Adolescent Psychiatry. The study explores the introduction of integrated health programs (IHPs) that incorporate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) protocols to combat stress and anxiety at three Boston-area public high schools.

Anxiety disorders are the most common -- and costly -- mental illness in the U.S. They affect more than 40 million adults and cost more than $42 billion a year to treat. Because adolescence makes up the core risk phase for the development of anxiety symptoms and syndromes, the study focused on the design and implementation of a holistic treatment program that could offer CAM therapies through public school clinics. The three-year study evaluated several integrative modalities and utilized three integrative treatments targeted for stress reduction: medical acupuncture, aromatherapy, and sound therapy.

"Exciting high-tech advances in neurobiology, genetics, neuroimaging, and pharmacology offer a wealth of treatment options to patients, but limited access to care, rising healthcare costs, and fears of potential long-term effects, particularly in the vulnerable adolescent population, require alternatives that make care more accessible, more affordable, and minimally invasive," said Dr. Milo. "The use of integrative protocols and sensory therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy offers many benefits to teens suffering from anxiety disorders including self-empowerment, self-care, and long-term preventive care."

Student participants in the study were referred by teachers, parents, counselors, mental health providers, and school nurses and evaluated by clinicians to ensure they met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for an anxiety or stress condition. Once selected, they attended 30-minute onsite treatment sessions once a week for eight weeks. Treatment schedules were designed to ensure minimal disruption of the school day, promote easy access to care, and alleviate transportation concerns. The program design also boosted school attendance by decreasing absenteeism for offsite clinical appointments.

"Dr. Milo's integrative care work at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School is well known among behavioral, mental health, and primary care clinicians, and now her research is available to a broader group of health professionals, school administrators, and concerned parents," said Joseph Attia, head of operations at Sage Tonic, a provider of interactive natural treatment tools. "With the growing prevalence of chronic physical and mental health conditions and concerns regarding age of onset, CAM and other integrative treatments provide cost-effective, evidence-based options that meet many of today's clinical needs. When we consider that just 18% of teens ages 13 to 18 who need mental healthcare receive it, programs like the IHP in Boston offer the lifelong skills-building adolescents need to foster resiliency and improve their ability to cope and confront life stressors."

The success of the Boston schools' IHP initiative highlights the interest, need, and workability of integrative health services in school clinics. To date, more than 100 students have completed the 10-week program, and all have reported moderate to significant reductions in anxiety symptoms in addition to increased overall wellness. Dr. Milo and her team are optimistic that the program can expand throughout the state of Massachusetts, where there are 41 school-based health centers, and into other states with similar facilities that can accommodate replications of this groundbreaking program.

About Dr. Milosavljevic
Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, affectionately called Dr. Milo by colleagues and patients alike, is a board-certified physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. In addition to conventional medicine, she practices integrative medicine for cognitive and behavioral conditions. Dr. Milosavljevic holds certifications in regenerative and functional medicine, medical acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, and Chinese herbs. Her training involves the use of evidence-based treatments that include: acupuncture, bio-identical hormone therapies, herbs, nutritional supplements, clinical-grade aromatherapy, and light and sound therapy. For more information, please visit http://dr-milo.com.

About Sage Tonic
Sage Tonic (ST) provides innovative, interactive natural-treatment tools for common medical conditions seen in pediatric, general medicine, and mental health clinics. The alternative and complementary regimens offered in the ST product line can provide immediate and long-term relief and support for many ailments. Each program includes educational content on a range of natural treatments that target the presenting symptoms or pathology and all can be delivered when, where, and how clients prefer. Sage Tonic protocols extend beyond initial symptom relief and promote increased personal responsibility for one's physical and mental health and preventative care. For more information, please visit http://www.sagetonic.com/.

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