Recent research shows that health-care workers are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) than the general public.  According to the article published in Health Services Research, three out of four doctors, nurses, healthcare technicians and administrators, reported using some form of CAM in the previous year.

For the study, the authors looked at data from 14,300 people on their use of acupuncture, massage, yoga, herbal medicines, and other alternative health practices.  What they found was that not only were healthcare workers in general more likely to use CAM than the general public, but that those who work in a clinical setting were twice as likely to seek out CAM practitioners for care.

Many patients are reluctant to talk to their doctors about the herbs or supplements that they take, or that they’re interested in using acupuncture to treat their complaints.  This is understandable, given the reactions many doctors have had in the past, and some even today.  However, this is information that doctors need, and as this study shows, are more receptive to than ever.

Lori Knutson, one of the study’s co-authors says “In general, Western culture has believed that complementary services and techniques aren’t as well-researched and evidence-based as conventional medicine, but that is certainly no longer the case. And so what I hope comes from this insight into practitioner use of complementary options is an opening up of the conversation between providers and patients about the use and potential of alternative medicine.”

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