CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Complementary and Alternative Medicine use rising in Ireland

Complementary and Alternative Medicine use is rising in Ireland, according to a new survey.

The BBC reports on a survey by a group at the University of Ulster on use of therapies such as reflexology, acupuncture and herbal medicines was increasing:

It found using such therapies was especially strong among women aged between 35 and 54.

Professor Suzanne McDonough said the findings provide a valuable backdrop to encouraging integrated medicine.

She said 29% of people interviewed had received some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the previous 12 months, with a very wide range of therapies being used.

"Compared to previous surveys in the UK there is an increasing use of CAM, with over 75% still being provided outside the National Health Service, indicating that the general population is willing to pay for these treatments," she said.

She said evidence suggested that integrated medicine - medicine in which conventional and CAM approaches are combined - is more cost-effective than conventional medicine alone....The survey reported that the most-used therapies, in order, were aromatherapy, reflexology, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and relaxation.

The survey reportedly found CAM use for common health problems such as musculoskeletal, stress, women's health and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This is consistent with prior data on use of complementary therapies in the U.S.

The survey's reports of effectiveness, however, relate to perceptions of effectiveness by patients, not to clinical trials of effectiveness.

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