In a recent survey from UCLA and the University of California, San Diego, researchers measured medical students' attitudes and beliefs about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and found that three-quarters of them felt conventional medicine would benefit by integrating complementary and alternative therapies.
• 77% of participants agreed that patients whose doctors know about CAM in addition to conventional medicine benefit more than those whose doctors are only familiar with conventional medicine.
• 74% agreed that a system that integrates conventional and alternative therapies would be more effective than either type of medicine provided independently.
• 84% agreed that CAM involves beliefs, ideas, and therapies from which conventional medicine could benefit.
• 49% indicated that they have used CAM.
"CAM is receiving increased attention in light of the global health crisis and the significant role of traditional medicine in meeting public health needs in developing countries," said study author Ryan Abbott, a UCLA researcher. "Integrating CAM into mainstream health care is now a global phenomenon, with policymakers at the highest levels endorsing the importance of a historically marginalized form of health care."
CAM includes therapies such as acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine, and yoga. Its emphasis is on maximizing the body's inherent healing ability, getting patients involved as active participants in their health care, and focusing on preventive care. While interest in these fields has increased dramatically in the United States in recent years, information about such therapies has not yet been widely integrated into medical education.
"Even with the high prevalence of CAM use today, most physicians still know little about nonconventional forms of medicine," said Michael Goldstein, a UCLA research scientist. "Investigating medical students' attitudes and knowledge will help us assess whether this may change in the future."
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy and massage for a wide range of health conditions as well as overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.