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Half of U.S. Physicians Recommend Complementary Health Approaches

Last Updated: December 09, 2019.

More than half of office-based physicians recommend complementary health approaches to their patients, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of office-based physicians recommend complementary health approaches (CHAs) to their patients, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Barbara J. Stussman, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used the 2012 Physician Induction Interview of the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to assess whether U.S. physicians recommend CHAs to their patients.

The researchers found that massage therapy was the most commonly recommended CHA (30.4 percent), followed by chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (27.1 percent), herbs and nonvitamin supplements (26.5 percent), yoga (25.6 percent), and acupuncture (22.4 percent). Among general and family practice physicians, the most commonly recommended CHAs were chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (54 percent) and massage therapy (52.6 percent). For all physicians, just over half (53.1 percent) recommended at least one CHA to patients during the previous 12 months. Physician's sex, race, specialty, and geographic region were significant predictors of CHA recommendations. Compared with male physicians, female physicians were more likely to recommend massage therapy (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.76), herbs and nonvitamin supplements (aOR, 1.85), yoga (aOR, 2.16), acupuncture (aOR, 1.65), and mind-body therapies (aOR, 2.63).

"These findings may enable consumers, physicians, and medical schools to better understand potential differences in use of CHAs with patients," the authors write.

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