Massage therapy relieves depression and stress while it boosts relaxation, benefits that can assist U.S. service personnel.

Now, six medical centers serving U.S. military personnel are partnering with a research institute to study the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for U.S. troops.

“Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research for Military Operations and Healthcare” was launched recently by the Samueli Institute.

“A recent survey of CAM therapy use among active duty soldiers, military retirees and family members at a military hospital showed 81 percent used one or more CAM therapies,” the institute’s website notes. “This survey also indicated that most would prefer that CAM therapies be made available at military treatment facilities.”

The facilities that are partnering with the institute are Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Madigan Army Medical Center, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, The National Naval Medical Center, the Air Force’s Malcom Grow Medical Center and the Joint Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The goal of the study is to “scientifically identify and investigate selected areas of CAM that offer the most health-maintenance and optimization benefit for military and veteran populations,” the website notes.

The study’s objectives, according to the Samueli Institute’s website, are to:

• enhance and maintain military personnel readiness;

• mitigate damage from battlefield and terrorist attacks;

• prevent and treat disease;

• support the military’s force health protection policies and wellness initiatives; and

• improve effectiveness and well-being for maintenance of personnel health and optimal functioning in military and veteran populations.

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