Quarter of patients using alternative medicine

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A quarter of people with chronic diseases is using some kind of complementary and alternative medicine because of the failings of conventional therapies, a new survey has discovered.

They're turning to a range of alternatives, including homeopathy and herbal remedies, massage and osteopathy, according to a study of 40,000 Europeans.


The most popular alternative is massage, which 12 per cent of patients have used, followed by homeopathy, which 6 per cent of respondents have turned to.


Germans are the most likely to use alternative medicine, with around 40 per cent regularly doing so, followed by Finland and Estonia, where 35 per cent of patients are turning to an alternative. By comparison, just 10 per cent of Hungarians had used one of the therapies in the past year.


The differences can partly be explained by different healthcare systems; some countries pay for alternative therapies through insurance schemes, and, in others, general practitioners also offer alternative medicine.


A well-educated female is the most likely to use an alternative, say researchers from the University of Helsinki who carried out the poll.


The patients are turning to alternatives for a range of chronic conditions because they consider the conventional therapy to be inadequate, the researchers say.

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