A recent study, commissioned by the publication, Australian Doctor and the drug company Pfizer Australia showed chiropractic was by far the most popular of what they termed alternative therapies surveyed. The study was a national survey of 1250 patients in Australia. The results showed that 34% of patients had visited a chiropractor. Additionally the study showed that 18% had used acupuncture, 16% had taken megavitamins, and 13% had used homeopathy.
In all, the study noted that more than half of Australian patients have used what they termed as alternative therapies. The researchers in this study were puzzled by the results as they consider these forms of care to be unscientific. Dr. Craig Hassed, complementary medicine researcher and senior lecturer in the department of general practice at Melbourne Australia’s Monash University, explained why so many people are using non-medical forms of care by saying, “That search for holistic health care is one of the main drivers behind the growth of complementary therapies.”
Dr. Hassed also said that some patients actually distrust science. He noted, “Some people are very suspicious of science. It might be that a lot of these do have a scientific basis and there is research patients might not have come across. They might trust that people have used these for a long time so there must be something in it.” He continued, “But they don’t trust research anyway because [they believe] it must have been driven by pharmaceutical companies trying to make a buck.”
The article noted that a report on cancer care released by the Senate Community Affairs Committee the previous month showed that other factors motivating patients to turn to what they grouped together as “complementary therapies” were, “holistic views, dissatisfaction with medical outcomes, a desire for improved health and increased access to health information, as well as growth in research-based evidence supporting the effectiveness of complementary medicine.”