Four luminaries in the complementary-medicine field have issued a call to President-Elect Barack Obama to include complementary therapies—approaches like massage, meditation and herbs—in his health-care plan.

In “‘Alternative’ Medicine Is Mainstream,” published today in the Wall Street Journal, Ayurvedic expert and author Deepak Chopra, M.D., heart-care specialist Dean Ornish, M.D., Professor Rustum Roy and complementary-medicine instructor and author Andrew Weil, M.D., wrote, “It’s time to move past the debate of alternative medicine versus traditional medicine, and to focus on what works, what doesn’t, for whom, and under which circumstances. It will take serious government funding to find out, but these findings may help reduce costs and increase health.”

The authors noted that preventive measures have been shown to halt or reverse the most prevalent diseases—heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

“[Heart disease, which] accounts for more premature deaths and costs Americans more than any other illness is almost completely preventable simply by changing diet and lifestyle,” they noted. “And the same lifestyle changes that can prevent or even reverse heart disease also help prevent or reverse many other chronic diseases as well.”

In December MASSAGE Magazine reported on a national study that showed more Americans than ever are utilizing complementary medicine, and that the use of massage therapy had grown. Another recent study showed massage to be a feasible treatment for cardiac patients in an acute-care setting.