Recent years the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing. A recent Norwegian survey shows that 45 % of the respondents had used CAM within the last 12 months. Massage was the most commonly used CAM method, followed by acupuncture. Acupuncture has been an integrated part of the clinical practice of Norwegian general practitioners (GPs). Many GPs have undergone acupuncture training. A survey involved in 111 GPs has shown that 60 % used acupuncture to treat patients. Fifty-two per cent used acupuncture in more than 5 % of their consultations. Acupuncture was most often used to treat musculoskeletal pain, migraine and tension headache, but was also used in nausea, indigestion, allergies, asthma and sleeping disorders. For the most common disease groups, positive effect was reported in 3 out of 4 patients. From 2001 to 2008 the proportion of Norwegian hospitals offering CAM increased from 25 % to 50.5 % and acupuncture was the therapy most frequently offered.
Who is likely to use acupuncture?
There was a report about characteristics of acupuncture users among internal medicine patients in Germany. 2486 patients were participated the study. The results have shown that 51.49% reported acupuncture use and 39.22% reported no prior use. The use of acupuncture was associated with higher age, i.e. those aged 50-64 were more likely to have used acupuncture, while those younger than 30 were less likely. Patients with spinal pain, fibromyalgia, or headache were more likely to be acupuncture users; while IBS patients were less likely. Patients with good to excellent health status, high external-social health locus of control and current smokers were less likely to have used acupuncture. Among those who had used acupuncture, 42.34% perceived the treatment as helpful, while 35.94% did not. Rated helpfulness was associated with female gender, full-time employment, high health satisfaction, and high internal health locus of control. Those with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis or inflammatory bowel disease were more likely to find acupuncture helpful; those with headache or other types of chronic pain were less likely to find acupuncture helpful. The conclusion was that Acupuncture was used by more than half of internal medicine patients. Prevalence and rated helpfulness of acupuncture use was associated with the patients' medical condition, sociodemography, and health locus of control.
Why patients use acupuncture
Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions in china for thousands years. Acupuncture is now used by many people in Western world for some reasons. Why people use acupuncture? Studies in New Zealand have shown that patients' reasons for using acupuncture are diverse and include dissatisfaction with conventional medicine and attraction to holistic and empowering models of healthcare. Patients mostly accessed acupuncture for musculoskeletal and pain-related conditions. Treatment is thought to relieve symptoms of the presenting concern and a range of other effects that improve well-being. Acupuncture was viewed to be appropriate for treating chronic and quality of life health issues. The barrier to access acupuncture was treatment-associated cost.
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