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Physicians Rate Acupuncture Most Effective Alternative Treatment

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National Survey: Physicians Rate Acupuncture As Most Effective Alternative Therapy


A nation-wide survey reveals a majority of American medical doctors consider acupuncture to be more effective than any other form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The physicians were asked to rank 12 most common CAM therapies according to their impressions regarding the overall efficacy of the therapies. Acupuncture fared the best in the survey, followed by massage and chiropractic. Acupuncture was favorably viewed by a majority of the physicians polled. Among the findings:

59% of the physicians believed that acupuncture can be effective. 57% reported that massage can be effective, while 48% believed that chiropractic can be effective. Homeopathy came in at 16%; naturopathy, 16%; electromagnetic field therapies, 12%; and aromatherapy came in last at 10%.

The physicians were evenly divided in their views of the impact of alternative medicine on public health, with 39% holding favorable views, and 40% holding unfavorable views. Despite this disparity, 64% of the physicians surveyed reported that they have recommended alternative therapies to their patients.

The survey, which consisted of 31 questions in a poll of 837 physicians, was conducted in September of 2005 by HCD Research, a New Jersey based market research firm,, and by the Louis Finkelstein Institute, based in New York. The margin of error for the study was plus or minus 3% at a 95% level of confidence.

Dr. Alan Mittleman, Director of the Finkelstein Institute, said of the study: “The message here is that techniques, like acupuncture, which have made it into the mainstream, are recognized by physicians as useful complements to scientific medicine. Other therapies remain on the fringe and are viewed with suspicion. Nonetheless, physicians seem willing to let their patients -- and future research -- decide what has credibility and what doesn’t.”

More detailed results of the survey may be obtained from the HCD Research website.