JOURNAL ARTICLE

Use of complementary and alternative medicine in Israel: 2000 vs. 1993

Amir Shmueli, Judith Shuval
Israel Medical Association Journal: IMAJ 2004, 6 (1): 3-8
14740500

BACKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medical care has gained increasing popularity in western societies in recent years.

OBJECTIVES: To provide a cross-sectional and temporal (2000 vs. 1993) analysis of the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Israel.

METHODS: The subjects studied represented the Israeli Jewish urban population aged 45-75 years. Full sit-down interviews were conducted with 2,003 respondents in 1993 and 2,505 respondents in 2000.

RESULTS: For 1993, 6% of the population reported on consultations with CAM providers during the previous year. For 2000, that proportion increased to 10%. Being a woman, having higher education, enjoying better economic status, being younger, living in a big city, and being dissatisfied with specialists' care were all positively related to the use of non-conventional medicine, particularly in 2000. In both years, more than 50% of the consultations were with acupuncturists and homeopaths. However, chiropractors have doubled their market shares, and lower back pain became the leading problem for which care was sought. The main reason for consulting CAM was a reluctance to use too many drugs or to undergo an invasive procedure. However, a significant proportion of the users continue to use conventional medicine concurrently. Seventy-five percent in 2000 and 60% in 1993 reported that the treatment helped.

CONCLUSIONS: Between 1993 and 2000, CAM in Israel changed from an infant industry into a mainstream medical commodity, reflected in both prevalence and different patterns of consumption.

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