New study in complementary medicine use by the Australian population
Dr Amie Steel, Dr Jon Wardle and Professor Jon Adams from The Australian Research Centre for Complementary Medicine (ARCCIM) alongside research partners from the Endeavour College of Natural Health have recently published a new study in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine [opens an external site]
The study, entitled ‘Complementary medicine use by the Australian population: a critical mixed studies systematic review of utilisation, perceptions and factors associated with use’ determined there is increasing evidence that complementary medicine (CM) services are being used by a substantial proportion of the Australian population and this topic has attracted keen interest from primary health care providers and policy makers. This review outlined the first summative critical review of the predictors of CM use in Australia as well as the characteristics and perceptions of Australian CM users over the last 14 years.
The research indicates a correlation between CM users and gender, with reports of a higher rate of use from females compared to males. Female CM users are more likely to be middle-aged with a higher education and higher annual income in comparison to female non-CM users. An association between resident location and use of CM disciplines was also identified with reports of rural residents utilising manual therapies more frequently compared to urban residents. CM users are more likely to seek CM services for a range of chronic conditions including diseases identified as National Health Priority Areas by the Australian Government.
The review findings offer important insights into the characteristics and features of CM use in Australia and provide insights for national and regional primary health care initiatives and of interest to medical doctors, allied health professionals, CM practitioners, researchers and policy makers.
“As complementary health care continues to be extremely popular it is vital and timely that all in the health care system be mindful of the latest trends and issues around CM use,” said Professor Adams. “This most recent ARCCIM collaboration is the first go-to resource for any researchers, policymakers and practitioners looking to acquaint themselves with the latest evidence-base around complementary medicine use and users and related issues in Australia.”