Use of Mind-Body Medical Therapies


Use of Mind-Body Medical Therapies Results of a National Survey

Peter M. Wolsko, MD, MPH, David M. Eisenberg, MD, Roger B. Davis, ScD, Russell S. Phillips, MD

OBJECT: Research demonstrating connections between the mind and body has increased interest in the potential of mind-body therapies. Our aim was to examine the use of mind-body therapies, using data available from a national survey.

DESIGN: Analysis of a large nationally representative dataset that comprehensively evaluated the use of mind-body therapies in the last year.

SETTING: United States households.

PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2,055 American adults in 1997-1998.

INTERVENTIONS: Random national telephone survey.

MEASURES AND MAIN RESULTS: We obtained a 60% weighted overall response rate among eligible respondents.

We found that 18.9% of adults had used at least 1 mind-body therapy in the last year, with 20.5% of these therapies involving visits to a mind-body professional.

Meditation, imagery, and yoga were the most commonly used techniques. Factors independently and positively associated with the use of mind-body therapies in the last year were being 40 to 49 years old (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33 to 3.10), being not married (AOR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.34 to 2.36), having an educational level of college or greater (AOR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.57 to 3.09), having used self-prayer for a medical concern (AOR, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.87 to 3.42), and having used another complementary medicine therapy in the last year (AOR, 3.77; 95% CI, 2.74 to 5.20).

While used for the full array of medical conditions, they were used infrequently for chronic pain (used by 20% of those with chronic pain) and insomnia (used by 13% of those with insomnia), conditions for which consensus panels have concluded that mind-body therapies are effective.

They were also used by less than 20% of those with heart disease, headaches, back or neck pain, and cancer, conditions for which there is strong research support.

Mind-body therapies were generally used concomitantly with conventional care: 90% of those using a mind-body therapy in the last year had seen a physician and 80% of mind-body therapies used were discussed with a physician.

CONCLUSIONS: Although mind-body therapies were commonly used, much opportunity exists to increase use of mind-body therapies for indications with demonstrated efficacy.

Journal of General Internal Medicine Volume 19 Issue 1 Page 43 - January 2004 doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.21019.x

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