Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Refugees and Survivors of Torture: A Review and Proposal for Action

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Abstract:

Survivors of torture and refugee trauma often have increased needs for mental and physical healthcare. This is due in part to the complex sequelae of trauma, including chronic pain, major depressive disorder, PTSD, and somatization. This article reviews the scientific medical literature for the efficacy and feasibility of some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities including meditation, Ayurveda, pranayama/yogic breathing, massage/body-work, dance/movement, spirituality, yoga, music, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, qigong, t’ai chi, chiropractic, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and Reiki specifically with respect to survivors of torture and refugee trauma. We report that preliminary research suggests that the certain CAM modalities may prove effective as part of an integrated treatment plan for survivors of torture and refugee trauma. Further research is warranted.

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Citation:

Longacre, M., Silver-Highfield, E., Lama, P., & Grodin, M. A. (2012). Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of refugees and survivors of torture: A review and proposal for action.  Torture,  22(1), 38-57.

About This Study:

Outcome(s): General Distress Reduction
Intervention(s): Mental health and psychosocial support services
Intervention Duration: Varies by study
Relevant ORR Program: Ethnic Community Self-Help Program, Preferred Communities, Refugee Health Promotion, Refugee Support Services, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
Study Type: Systematic review
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: Inconclusive or mixed impact
Strength of Evidence: Strong
Population(s): Refugees, Unaccompanied Minors
Gender(s) of Participants: All
Age(s) of Participants: Multiple Age Groups
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: Multiple Regions

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: