Doctors more likely to use natural remedies (but not prescribe them)

From Leah Zerbe, on

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Doctors don’t regularly prescribe natural remedies to patients, but a new study finds physicians and nurses are more likely than the general public to use alternative and complimentary medicine for their own health ailments. The new study looking at alternative and complimentary medicine use in Americans appears in the journal Health Services Research.

“Nurses and doctors are reflecting current societal trends being swept up in a grassroots movement that they have resisted for the last three decades,” says alternative and complimentary medicine expert Guy Riekeman, DC, president of Life University, a chiropractic school in Atlanta. (He was not involved in this study.)

THE DETAILS: For the study, complimentary and alternative medicine included things like acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Pilates, meditation, use of herbs, and a vegetarian diet. Compared to the 63 percent of the general working population that taps these natural healing methods, 76 percent of healthcare workers reported using complimentary and alternative medicine. Looking strictly at healthcare workers, doctors and nurses were more than twice as likely to seek treatment from a massage therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, or other practitioner-based alternative medicine provider compared to other workers in the healthcare industry, such as technicians, assistants, or administrators. Doctors and nurses were more than three times as likely to tap natural remedies for self-treatment (herbs, exercise, yoga, and the like). “As insiders, healthcare workers understand what’s missing in our medical system. They’re more educated than others about orthodox and alternative medicine,” alternative medicine practitioner Joya Lynn-Schoen, MD, said in a statement from the Health Behavior News Service.

“Mainstream medicine will say, ‘Here’s a pill’ or ‘Have an operation’ or ‘There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just tired,'” Lynn-Schoen said…”

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4 responses to “Doctors more likely to use natural remedies (but not prescribe them)

  1. Karen Selick

    One doctor I spoke to within the past year made it very clear to me that in Ontario, doctors are expected to follow the regimens dictated by their professional organizations (i.e. the government-mandated cartels). They can face some severe disciplinary consequences if they step out of line. In other words, they are intimidated into keeping quiet about treatments that do not have official sanction. They can use such treatments themselves, but they’d better not tell patients about them.

    • This is so true and so unfortunate. The cooperate class (cartels) has too much control due to their deep pockets. I have read a doctor explaining his experience with this when he was treating cancer patients with metabolic therapy. He said when 85% patients died while receiving “approved” treatment no one questioned it. But when he had the number drop from 85% to only 15% deaths. They told him he was responsible for those deaths because he did not use the “approved treatment. CRAZY!!! I am part of a brand new blog we are trying to build an audience so if you have a moment check us out at
      this is our alternative medicine category page

  2. tal

    Non-Allopathic (Non-Conventional) Therapies in Medical Practice
    The College’s Complementary Medicine policy is currently under review in accordance with our regular policy review process. The policy was originally developed in the mid‐1990s, and articulated broad statements of expectation for the profession related to three core components: assessing patients, treating patients, and advancing knowledge.

    Since the development of the Complementary Medicine policy, the environment has changed significantly. The popularity of non-allopathic therapies amongst patients …

    Backlash grows against Ontario’s nonconventional therapy guidelines
    In panning the guidelines, the groups also argue that physicians will be placed in the position of breaching their duty to provide patients with the best possible care.

    CPSO is currently fielding submissions in response to draft guidelines that would compel physicians “to propose both allopathic and non-allopathic therapeutic options that are clinically indicated or appropriate” (

    No matter what doctors use for themselves, it appears they don’t want their patients to partake. Maybe all the people who seem to know doctors who claim to support alternative medicine can persuade them to comment favourably on this proposal.

  3. tal

    Here’s another one. Please note that we should be “respect(ing) the conviction of many physicians etc.” I thought this was supposed to be about evidence. Unfortunately, there’s very little actual evidence supporting conventional medical practice which is why we hear so little about “evidence-based-medicine” anymore. After touting this for a few years, the analyses revealed that less than 30% of conventional medicine was supported by evidence. Anyone remember the study that showed no difference in 5-year survival rate between those who underwent coronary bypass and those who received more conservative treatment? It was the heart surgeons who attempted to shutdown any and all chelation studies.

    Doctors slam alternative medicine proposal
    Some medical groups are concerned that proposed guidelines on how Ontario doctors should approach alternative medicine may require physicians to accept and incorporate the practice.

    “We believe the draft policy should be revised to sharpen its focus, and should respect the conviction of many physicians and clinical researchers, that [alternative medicine] has minimal scientific validity and that recommending it to patients achieves no clinical purpose and may be unethical,” the Canadian Medical Association says in a written letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)….

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