RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Doctors don't regularly prescribe natural remedies to patients, but a new study finds physicians and nurses are more likely than the general public to use alternative and complimentary medicine for their own health ailments. The new study looking at alternative and complimentary medicine use in Americans appears in the journal Health Services Research. "Nurses and doctors are reflecting current societal trends being swept up in a grassroots movement that they have resisted for the last three decades," says alternative and complimentary medicine expert Guy Riekeman, DC, president of Life University, a chiropractic school in Atlanta. (He was not involved in this study.)
THE DETAILS: For the study, complimentary and alternative medicine included things like acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Pilates, meditation, use of herbs, and a vegetarian diet. Compared to the 63 percent of the general working population that taps these natural healing methods, 76 percent of healthcare workers reported using complimentary and alternative medicine. Looking strictly at healthcare workers, doctors and nurses were more than twice as likely to seek treatment from a massage therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, or other practitioner-based alternative medicine provider compared to other workers in the healthcare industry, such as technicians, assistants, or administrators. Doctors and nurses were more than three times as likely to tap natural remedies for self-treatment (herbs, exercise, yoga, and the like). "As insiders, healthcare workers understand what's missing in our medical system. They’re more educated than others about orthodox and alternative medicine," alternative medicine practitioner Joya Lynn-Schoen, MD, said in a statement from the Health Behavior News Service.
"Mainstream medicine will say, 'Here's a pill' or 'Have an operation' or 'There's nothing wrong with you, you’re just tired,'" Lynn-Schoen said.