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October 2021

South Med J. 1998 Dec; 91(12): 1126-31.

Lifetime use of alternative therapy: a study of Florida residents.

Burg MA, Hatch RL, Neims AH.

Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610-3588, USA.

BACKGROUND: Clinically relevant questions remain about who uses alternative medicine, which treatments they use and why. METHODS: The random digit dialing survey method was used to ask Florida residents about their lifetime use of 11 different alternative therapies. The response rate was 54% (n=1,012). RESULTS: Sixty-two percent of respondents had used one or more of these alternative therapies. Women, unmarried persons, those with regular physicians, and those with poor self-rated health were the highest users. Home remedies were used by 31% of the respondents, followed by special diets (24%), relaxation techniques (20%), and herbal medicines (18%). Acupuncture, biofeedback, energy healing, and hypnosis were used by less than 5% of the sample. CONCLUSIONS: Most respondents used an alternative therapy at some time. Ethnic diversity may be a useful marker for more diversity in alternative therapy. These results affirm the need for accelerated physician education in alternative medicine to help physicians respond appropriately to patients' inquiries about alternative therapy.

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