More people visit alternative medical practitioners than conventional
allopathic doctors according to a national study.
The results of the
study were published in an article entitled WHY
PATIENTS USE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE in the May 20, 1998 edition of
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) p. 1548-1553 by Stanford
researcher John A. Astin, PhD.
Some study results mentioned in the article:
- Researchers estimate that Americans made 425 million visits
to alternative health care providers in 1990, a figure that
exceeded the number of visits to allopathic primary care
physicians during the same period. (By
almost 100 million visits!)
A 1994 survey of physicians from a wide array of medical specialties (in
Washington State, New Mexico, and Israel) revealed that more than
60% recommended alternative therapies to their patients at least
once in the preceding year, while 38% had done so in the previous month.
Forty seven (47) percent of these physicians also reported using
alternative therapies themselves, while 23% incorporated them into
The 2 most frequently endorsed benefits (alternative care) were,
relief for my symptoms, the pain or discomfort is less
or goes away, I feel better," and
"The treatment works better
for my particular health problem than standard medicine's."
According to the study author, These responses suggest that the
most influential or salient factor in people's decision to use alternative
health care may be its preceived efficacy.
The response, "The treatment promotes health rather than just focusing
on the illness," was the third most frequently reported benefit.
Relief of symptoms is the main benefit reported (the perceived efficacy
of alternative medicine being cited nearly twice as often as other
A central finding is that users of alternative health care are no more
dissatistied with or distrustful of conventional care than nonusers are.
Almost half of
allopathic doctors themselves have used some form of
treatment. People use it because they think it works.
All in all, this is one JAMA article you don't want to miss!
Trivia Question: Why does
a JAMA article that promotes cholesterol medication,
even in people who don't have elevated cholesterol,
make front-page news?
Yet an article such as this in the same Journal goes without mention?
Return to the Pauling
Therapy for Heart Disease