Insurance Update
May 2015
Issue No. 57           
In this issue

Pediatric Integrative Medicine  

A healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole infant, child, or adolescent.



About Us 

Insurance logo 

 A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and ad&d, dependent life and ad&d, retiree life, long-term disability, short-term disability, and Medicare supplement coverage for eligible ministers and other employees of congregations, districts, and camps. Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage is also available for eligible retirees of congregations, districts, and camps.


Medical and ancillary plans are available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.


Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.  
Contact Us 
1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120

The past 30 years have seen gradual and surprising changes in the practice of medicine. Doctors, hospitals, and medical schools once adhered strictly to a scientific, data-centered, evidence-based approach. Now they are willing to consider and incorporate "alternative" approaches that may include herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, yoga, stress reduction techniques, and many others.


This has come to be called "integrative" medicine. It is an approach that further humanizes the medical profession. It's possible that many of you, or people you know, have benefitted from this evolving trend.


Integrative medicine is based on the idea that there is more to us than our physical reality, that healing happens in relationship, and that we carry in our spirit the capacity for wholeness -- ideas that find resonance in BBT's underlying philosophy.


BBT's vision statement is "Building financial security. Bettering the world. Together," and in its Ethos Statement we find phrases such as, "embracing the spirit of God in all that we do," "showing unconditional positive regard for each other and for those we exist to serve," "equipping ourselves to fulfill our individual and collective responsibilities," and, "empowering one another." (You can read the Ethos Statement and others on the BBT website at


It's fitting to reflect on these beautiful concepts as we begin to enjoy the beauties of Spring, and -- pardon the cliché -- as April showers turn to May flowers. Please be assured of BBT's continued interest in your health and wellbeing, and may you be heartened by the many positive changes taking place in the medical world.

Lynnae, Tammy, and Connie

Treating the whole person -- Integrative Medicine


Have you ever felt that hospitals are cold and impersonal? Have you been dismissed by a doctor or nurse with quick, clinical instructions and a prescription for drugs? Have you been seriously ill or known someone who has been, and found the treatment to be nearly as bad as the disease? Do you think medical costs are too high?


Doctors and other medical professionals have been asking these same questions. Over the past 30 years, there has been a growing awareness that the compassionate practice of medicine was being replaced by the science of medicine. Beginning in the early 1990s, leaders in the medical profession began to develop something known as "complementary and alternative medicine," or as it is now called, "integrative medicine." The medical profession has made some heartening progress, but this process of change is not complete. 


In the early 1990s, doctors began to hear that their patients were seeking non-medical therapies, and they listened. A 1995 survey showed that 80 percent of family practitioners had become interested in acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and massage.* Since 2001, the number of hospitals in the United States using this approach in their programs has doubled. Today, there are 63 research institutions in the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health,** all of which were previously dominated by the highly clinical approach to medicine.


The science of healing

Doctors are being encouraged to think of themselves not only as scientists, but as healers. A course called "The Healer's Art" was created by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen in the 1990s at the University of California San Francisco Medical School. Her course is now part of the curriculum at more than 70 medical schools, half the medical schools in the nation. As treatment and procedures became increasingly expensive, and patients began to see disappointing results from pharmaceuticals, they began to look for more natural and affordable approaches. At the same time, doctors discovered that listening, taking time to explain, and using approaches not in the medical lexicon can have positive results -- that treating the whole person involves more than conventional medicine. The goal might be to acknowledge that high-tech, acute care can achieve amazing things, but there are chronic diseases and mysterious elements of suffering and healing it cannot cure. That's where integrative medicine makes sense.


What are the basic principles of integrative medicine?

  1. The patient and the doctor are partners in the healing process
  2. All factors influencing health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration. This includes body, mind, spirit, and community.
  3. The body has an innate healing capacity. Both conventional and alternative methods facilitate healing.
  4. Natural and less invasive interventions should be used whenever possible.
  5. Good medicine is based on good science. It is driven by inquiry, and it is open to new ideas.
  6. The patient is the one who must decide how to proceed with treatment and must consider values, beliefs, and available evidence.
  7. Promoting health and preventing illness are as important as treatment.
  8. Doctors and medical professionals who practice integrative medicine should commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.

*Whorton, James (2004). Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 298-99.


**Member Listing, Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, Retrieved May 6, 2015


Principles adapted from "Integrative Medicine and Patient-Centered Care," by Victoria Maizes, M.D., David Rakel, M.D., Catherine Niemiec, J.D., L.Ac., commissioned for the Institute of Medicine Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public, February, 2009 at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, pp. 6-8.

Integrative Medicine vs Conventional Medicine: Two Examples 

The limits of a purely pharmaceutical approach

A healthy 18-year-old high school student and varsity baseball player visited the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine after suffering for three years from severe headaches, neck pain, and a tic disorder, which all had begun after a violent sneeze. He was sleeping poorly, his energy was low, and he had lost his enjoyment for most activities. Following a particularly bad month of daily pain so severe he could not go to school, he sought treatment from a neurologist, who diagnosed him with depression. The student was put on Paxil, recommended for a psychiatric consultation, and given an MRI and EEG. The family sought a second opinion from a neurologist who was also a psychiatrist. He prescribed two additional drugs -- Tofranil and Corgard. Because of the persistent daily headaches and the tic, courses of 11 medications were given -- Imitrex, Sinequan, Zomig, Mazalt, Risperdal, Tenex, Klonopin, Soma, Kappra, Zyprexa, and even Orap (an anti-psychotic medication) -- all without benefit.  


When the student finally opted for the integrative medicine clinic, he was referred to an osteopathic physician who identified tender points in the neck muscles. Using a gentle technique called strain-counterstrain, the osteopath was able to resolve these tender points. The boy reported an immediate decrease in his pain, from a nine to a five on a 10-point scale. Two weeks later he returned to the clinic with the news that he was back in school and had started playing ball again. A second treatment reduced the pain to a level of two. Six weeks later he was off all medication and had returned to his normal activities.


Dealing with the side-effects of chemotherapy 

A 44-year-old woman with stage IIB breast cancer visited the clinic for help with side effects of chemotherapy. She had a history of Type 1 diabetes since age 12. After a lumpectomy and radiation to treat the cancer, chemotherapy had been recommended. With her first cycle of chemotherapy, she developed a life-threatening complication, which placed her in the intensive care unit for a week. Despite additional pre-medications with her second cycle of chemotherapy, the same side effect, related to her diabetes, occurred. At that point, her oncologist told her it was too risky to proceed with further chemotherapy.


The patient then visited the integrative medicine clinic with a simple request. "I have four children; I need aggressive treatment to survive." A plan was developed that included weekly acupuncture treatments and daily self-hypnosis to reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Using these two therapies, the patient was able to complete her chemotherapeutic regimen without further hospitalizations.


Case studies from "Integrative Medicine and Patient-Centered Care," pp. 4 & 18.
Wholeness and Healing 


A doctor who personifies integrative medicine

Rachel Naomi Remen was a highly successful pediatric specialist when she started to question the strict clinical nature of her training and practice. She began to explore ideas from the human potential movement and eventually left pediatrics to work with terminally ill cancer patients and other patients facing serious disability and loss. She came to have a deep conviction about the nature of wholeness and the place of mystery in healing. A course called "The Healer's Art" was created by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen in the 1990s at the University of California San Francisco Medical School. Her course is now part of the curriculum at more than 80 medical schools in the US and abroad, including half the medical schools in the US.*** She also wrote two books that became bestsellers, "Kitchen Table Wisdom," and "My Grandfather's Blessings." Her books and speeches are accessible to all audiences. You can link to one of her presentations here.  


A remarkable list  

Below are some of the many alternative approaches to medicine gleaned from different programs in integrative medicine. Note how extraordinary this list is. Thirty years ago, most self-respecting doctors or medical centers would not have used any of these techniques. Now these are found in prestigious teaching and university hospitals.


Acupuncture: stimulation of specific points along the skin of the body using thin needles, used to treat a range of conditions, but most commonly for pain relief.

Ayurvedic Medicine: a system of Hindu traditional medicine, which includes the use of herbs, minerals or metals, and application of oil massage.

Biofeedback: the process of gaining greater awareness of many physiological functions, with the goal of being able to manipulate them at will.

Chiropractic manipulation: the approach to spinal manipulation by a chiropractor or osteopath, used for temporary pain relief, long-term wellness, and preventive care.

Guided imagery: a technique used for aiding patients to use mental imagery to help with anything from healing their bodies to solving problems or reducing stress.

Healing touch: also known as therapeutic touch, this is an energy therapy practitioners claim promotes healing and reduces pain and anxiety.

Herbal or botanical medicine: the use of plants for medicinal purposes.

Homeopathy: the belief that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people.

Hypnosis: a state of human consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion.

Journaling: also known as writing therapy, this is a form of expressive therapy that uses the act of writing and processing the written word as therapy.


Massage: the act of therapeutic pressure to a body, applied with hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet, or a massage device.

Meditation: the practice of self-regulation of the mind, during which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either for benefit or to acknowledge some content in the mind without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction: designed to assist people with pain and a range of conditions and life issues difficult to treat in a hospital setting.

Naturopathy: a form of alternative medicine with a wide array of natural treatments, including herbalism, acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle counseling.

Osteopathic manipulation: an ideology based on the belief that a tissue layer connects all parts of the body, and that by manipulating a person's bones and muscles a variety of ailments can be treated and relieved.

Probiotics: a substance that naturally decreases potentially pathogenic gastrointestinal microorganisms and aids in reduction of gastrointestinal discomfort, flatulence, and bloating.

Qi Gong: originating in Chinese medicine, this is a type of spiritual practice intended to align body, breath, and mind for health, meditation, and martial arts training.

Reiki: an alternative medicine technique commonly called palm healing or hands-on-healing. It is a transference of universal energy through the palms of the hand, which is believed to encourage healing.

Relaxation techniques: any method, process, procedure, or activity that helps a person to relax, to attain a state of increased calmness, or otherwise reduce levels of pain, anxiety, stress, or anger.

Shiatsu: a form of Japanese bodywork based on the theoretical framework of traditional Chinese medicine.

Tai Chi: an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits.

Traditional Chinese medicine: a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts that has been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and dietary therapy.

Vitamins and supplements: generally, these are minerals, fiber, fatty acids, amino acids, and other substances that are taken to replace or boost certain elements missing from a person's everyday diet, or to aid with a deficiency or physical/medical condition.

Yoga: a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline, involving physical exercises, various levels of balance, and physical and spiritual stretching.

*** Retrieved May 6, 2015, and Retrieved May 6, 2015.

Definitions were adapted from Wikipedia.

 LTCILong-Term Care Insurance

Part of integrative medicine is being fully invested in your health, and living a lifestyle that promotes wellbeing for many years. But even if you live a long healthy life, there is still a possibility you will need to have a little something extra to help you through those golden years. And Brethren Insurance Services is here to help you. We offer Long-Term Care Insurance for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.



If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information.