Complementary medicine use in the Australian population: Results of a nationally-representative cross-sectional survey

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2018, 8 (1)
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© 2018, The Author(s). In order to describe the prevalence and characteristics of complementary medicine (CM) practice and product use by Australians, we conducted a cross-sectional online survey with Australian adults aged 18 and over. Rates of consultation with CM practitioners, and use of CM products and practices were assessed. The sample (n = 2,019) was broadly representative of the Australian population. Prevalence of any CM use was 63.1%, with 36% consulting a CM practitioner and 52.8% using any CM product or practice. Bodywork therapists were the most commonly consulted CM practitioners (massage therapists 20.7%, chiropractors 12.6%, yoga teachers 8.9%) and homeopaths were the least commonly consulted (3.4%). Almost half of respondents (47.8%) used vitamin/mineral supplements, while relaxation techniques/meditation were the most common practice (15.8%). CM users were more likely to be female, have a chronic disease diagnosis, no private health insurance, a higher education level, and not be looking for work. Prevalence of CM use in Australia has remained consistently high, demonstrating that CM is an established part of contemporary health management practices within the general population. It is critical that health policy makers and health care providers acknowledge CM in their attempts to ensure optimal public health and patient outcomes.
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