Study: U.S. health care workers often use complementary and alternative medicine

Published on August 19, 2011 at 2:03 AM · No Comments

"As insiders, health care workers understand what's missing in our medical system. They're more educated than others about orthodox and alternative medicine," said Joya Lynn-Schoen, M.D., a psychiatrist by training who instead practices alternative medicine, offering patients homeopathy, nutrition and chelation therapies. "Mainstream medicine will say, 'Here's a pill' or 'Have an operation" or 'There's nothing wrong with you. You're just tired.'

"We may be opening Pandora's box by disclosing utilization of CAM by conventional providers," Knutson said. "I prefer to believe that this will create an opening for both provider and patient in optimizing health for the whole person." Knutson added that consumers ought to know that providers use CAM and that health care workers should know that their peers use CAM, although perhaps without discussing it.

How shocked consumers would actually be by their doctors' use of CAM is questionable, however. The researchers used a broad definition of CAM that includes practices as commonplace as deep breathing, meditation and massage, and ones as complex as biofeedback, hypnosis and chelation therapy, which involves administration of chemicals called chelating agents to eliminate heavy metals such as lead, arsenic or mercury from the body. To discover the depth of doctors' and nurses' involvement with the more esoteric approaches will require further research.

Source: Health Services Research

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