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Complementary and integrative medicine intervention in front-line COVID-19 clinicians
  1. Eran Ben-Arye1,2,
  2. Orit Gressel1,
  3. Noah Samuels3,
  4. Nili Stein4,
  5. Arieh Eden5,
  6. Jan Vagedes6 and
  7. Sameer Kassem7
  1. 1Integrative Oncology Program, The Oncology Service, Lin, Carmel, and Zebulun Medical centers, Clalit Health Services, Haifa, Israel
  2. 2Ruth and Bruch Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
  3. 3Center for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaarei Zedek Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  4. 4Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  5. 5Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  6. 6Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Tubingen, Tubingen, Germany
  7. 7Department of Internal Medicine, Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Professor Eran Ben-Arye, Integrative Oncology Program, Oncology Service, Lin Medical Center, Haifa, Israel; eranben{at}


Objective To assess the impact of a multidisciplinary complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) intervention on physical and emotional concerns among front-line COVID-19 healthcare providers (HCPs).

Methods A multimodality CIM treatment intervention was provided by integrative practitioners to HCPs in three isolated COVID-19 departments. HCPs’ two main concerns were scored (from 0 to 6) before and following the CIM intervention using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing questionnaire. Postintervention narratives identified reflective narratives specifying emotional and/or spiritual keywords.

Results Of 181 HCPs undergoing at least one CIM treatment, 119 (65.7%) completed post-treatment questionnaires. While HCPs listing baseline emotional-related concerns benefited from the CIM intervention, those who did not express emotional or spiritual concerns improved even more significantly following the first session, for both leading concerns (p=0.038) and emotional-related concerns (p=0.023). Nevertheless, it was shown that following subsequent treatments HCPs who expressed emotional and spiritual concerns improved more significantly than those who did not for emotional-related concerns (p=0.017).

Conclusions A CIM intervention for front-line HCPs working in isolated COVID-19 departments can significantly impact emotional-related concerns, more so after the first treatment and among HCPs not using emotional-spiritual keywords in post-treatment narratives. Referral of HCPs to CIM programmes for improved well-being should avoid referral bias to those not expressing emotional/spiritual concerns.

  • COVID-19
  • communication
  • complementary therapy

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • EB-A and OG are joint first authors.

  • EB-A and OG contributed equally.

  • Contributors EB-A, OG and SK planned the trial. EB-A, OG, AE and SK conducted the study and collected the data analysed in the study. EB-A, NSa and NSt carried out the analysis and wrote the draft manuscript. All authors participated in the revision of the manuscript. EBA is responsible for the overall content as the guarantor. EBA (the guarantor) accepts full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.