Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler

Second Advisor

Stasia Johnson Steinhagen

Third Advisor

Janet Dahlem


Holistic Health Studies


Over the next two decades, the population of adults over age 55 will undergo exponential growth. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is popular, and offers pain management, increased mobility, a sense of control over health, improved health overall despite physical frailty, personal responsibility over health and health care, and preservation of good health. We identified and interviewed decision-makers from eight assisted living facilities in two Twin Cities counties regarding what types of CAM they offer onsite and why. Quantitative and qualitative data, were analyzed to describe CAM therapies and identify themes. Themes emerged around access to CAM, barriers to CAM and benefits of CAM. CAM access themes include appropriating more space to provide services, reducing the burden of finding appropriate practitioners, and problems of relying on volunteers to provide services. Themes around CAM’s perceived health benefits in older adults include reducing medications, pain, depression, and anxiety. These findings have implications for elder care living choices, care costs and reimbursement practices, conventional and holistic health policy, and the well-being of older adults.