CAM Use in the UK

In an article in the British Medical Journal, leading researcher Edzard Ernst discusses the reasons for and the implications of the growing popularity of complementary and alternative (CAM) medicine. According to Ernst, recent surveys place the United Kingdom's one-year prevalence rate of CAM at 20 percent. Herbalism, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, and reflexology were among the most preferred modalities. Ernst analyzes the mixed impetuses for this trend, ranging from criticism of conventional medicine to the correlation between affluence and CAM usage.

Despite its growing popularity in the United Kingdom, the prevalence rate of CAM in the UK still lags behind Germany (slightly over 60 percent) and the United States (40 percent). He notes that while some hard evidence is available, the current rationale for CAM use is still predominantly "opinion based" and that more research is needed to determine both risk and cost benefits of CAM treatments.

Source: Ernst E. The role of complementary and alternative medicine. BMJ. 2000;321:1133-1135.

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