Complementary Therapies; Have They Become Mainstream in General Practice?

Complementary Therapies; Have They Become Mainstream in General Practice?

Pirotta, M. Cohen M., Kotsirilos, K. Farrish, S. Complementary Therapies; Have They Become Mainstream in General Practice? Medical Journal of Australia, 172: 105 -109, 2000.

Abstract

 

OBJECTIVES:
To describe Victorian general practitioners’ attitudes towards and use of a range of complementary therapies.
DESIGN:
A self-administered postal survey sent to a random sample of 800 general practitioners (GPs) in Victoria in July 1997.
PARTICIPANTS:
488 GPs (response rate, 64%).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
GPs’ knowledge; opinions about harmfulness and effectiveness; appropriateness for GPs to practise; perceived patient demand; need for undergraduate education; referral rates to complementary practitioners; and training in and practice of each therapy.
RESULTS:
Acupuncture, hypnosis and meditation are well accepted by the surveyed GPs, as over 80% have referred patients patients to practitioners of these therapies and nearly half have considered using them. General practitioners have trained in various therapies–meditation (34%), acupuncture (23%), vitamin and mineral therapy (23%), hypnosis (20%), herbal medicine (12%), chiropractic (8%), naturopathy (6%), homoeopathy (5%), spiritual healing (5%), osteopathy (4%), aroma-therapy (4%), and reflexology (2%). A quarter to a third were interested in training in chiropractic, herbal medicine, naturopathy and vitamin and mineral therapy. General practitioners appear to underestimate their patients’ use of complementary therapies.
CONCLUSIONS:
There is evidence in Australia of widespread acceptance of acupuncture, meditation, hypnosis and chiropractic by GPs and lesser acceptance of the other therapies. These findings generate an urgent need for evidence of these therapies’ effectiveness.
Comment in
Complementary and alternative medicine: an educational, attitudinal and research challenge. [Med J Aust. 2000]

What is Complementary Medicine?

What is Complementary Medicine?

Cohen, M. What is Complementary Medicine? Australian Family Physician Vol 29 No 12, p1125-8, 2000.

Abstract

 

BACKGROUND:
Medicine has a central aim of achieving health and wellbeing and many healthcare practices have developed to achieve this. Currently, patient spending on complementary therapies exceeds out of pocket spending on orthodox therapies. The increased use of complementary medicine by the public is paralleled by many doctors either using, or interested in using, a wider range of therapeutic approaches.
OBJECTIVE:
To define complementary medicine and explore what distinguishes it from mainstream medicine.
DISCUSSION:
Despite growing interest into complementary therapies by doctors and government, it often seems there are two parallel healthcare systems–‘conventional’ and ‘complementary’, or ‘orthodox’ and ‘unorthodox’–operating without much interaction. Descriptions of this division claim to be based on scientific merit or political acceptance. However, it may be more appropriate to consider therapies as existing across a spectrum with multiple, complementary dimensions. Thus, the science of medicine aimed at achieving cures can be seen to complement the art of medicine, which aims to enhance health. Optimal healthcare delivery requires a ‘holistic’ or ‘integrative’ approach.

Happiness and humour: A medical perspective

Happiness and humour: A medical perspective

Cohen, M. Happiness and Humour: A Medical Perspective. Australian Family Physician Vol 30 No 1, 17-19, 2001.

Abstract

 

BACKGROUND:
The medical profession’s focus on dealing with negative mental states has led to the suggestion of classifying ‘happiness’ as a major affective disorder (pleasant type).
OBJECTIVE:
To describe the symptoms and signs of happiness and discuss its health benefits.
DISCUSSION:
Epidemiological data suggests that happiness is related to personality factors such as high self esteem, feelings of personal control and extroversion and is unrelated to demographic factors or the ownership of consumer goods. Humour is a communication device specifically designed to elicit joy and happiness and is effective in relieving anxiety and stress and enhances communication in medical settings. Recapturing the optimistic enchantment with life that is a part of childhood may be a key to happiness and health.