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Complementary and alternative medicine use by visitors to rural Japanese family medicine clinics: results from the international complementary and alternative medicine survey



Complementary and alternative medicine use by visitors to rural Japanese family medicine clinics: results from the international complementary and alternative medicine survey



Bmc Complementary and Alternative Medicine 14: 360



There is growing interest in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) throughout the world, however previous research done in Japan has focused primarily on CAM use in major cities. The purpose of this study was to develop and distribute a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q) to assess the use of CAM among people who visit rural Japanese family medicine clinics. Using a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q), a cross-sectional survey was conducted in three rural family medicine clinics. All patients and those accompanying patients who met inclusion criteria were eligible to participate. Data were entered into SPSS Statistics and analyzed for use by age, gender, and location. Of the 519 respondents who participated in the project, 415 participants reported CAM use in the past 12 months (80.0%). When prayer is excluded, the prevalence of CAM use drops to 77.3% in the past year, or 403 respondents. The most common forms of CAM used by respondents were pain relief pads (n = 170, 32.8%), herbal medicines/supplements (n = 167, 32.2%), and massage by self or family (n = 166, 32.0%). Female respondents, individuals with higher levels of education, and those with poorer overall health status were more likely to use CAM than respondents without these characteristics. Only 22.8% of CAM therapies used were reported to physicians by survey participants. These data indicate that CAM use in rural Japan is common. The results are consistent with previous studies that show that Japanese individuals are more interested in forms of CAM such as pain relief pads and massage, than in mind-body forms of CAM like relaxation and meditation. Due to the high utilization of certain CAM practices, and given that most CAM users do not disclose their CAM use to their doctors, we conclude that physicians in rural Japan would benefit by asking about CAM use during patient interviews, and by familiarizing themselves with the potential benefits and risks of commonly used CAM modalities.

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Accession: 052255859

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PMID: 25256591

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-360


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