Integrative Medicine Wave Hits Japan

A survey on integrative medicine in Japan by Yano Research Institute (YRI) showed that the market for integrative medicine reached 2,358.6 billion yen ($20.3 bil) in 2004, a 17% rise from 2002.

The market is expected to exceed 5 trillion yen ($43.1 bil) in 2013. In addition, YRI conducted a questionnaire survey of 991 medical institutions and professionals nationwide and received effective replies from 40.4%. Of the respondents. Of those, 25% answered that they offer integrative medicine at their facilities. Popular diseases and symptoms subject to integrative medicine are cancer, immune deficiency, atopic dermatitis and obesity.

From: "Yano Research Institute Surveys Integrative Medicine Market in Japan" (http://www.japancorp.net/Article.Asp?Art_ID=11619).

Integrative medicine is a global phenomenon, with all the attendant legal, ethical and regulatory issues. The article notes that: "When asked about the purpose of integrative medicine, most of the respondents answered that it is to improve patients' quality of life rather than to cure diseases." Issues such as informed consent and licensing to ensure competence of practitioners, however, may still come into play.