Research: CASSIDY writes that Ch

Listed in Issue 34


CASSIDY writes that Chinese medicine is growing in popularity, offering an important alternative of complementary approach to health-care, but that little is known of users or their reason for using it . The author reports on the first in-depth, large survey (n = 575) of United States users of acupuncture.



A mixed quantitative-qualitative survey questionnaire assessed user demographics, the modalities of Chinese medicine used, their complaints, response to care, other types of health-care used and satisfaction with care in 6 general-service clinics in 5 states in the US.


The demographic profile of the Chinese medicine user was of middle-age, well-educated, employed, middle-income patients who sought care for a wide variety of conditions. The most prevalent uses were for relief of musculoskeletal dysfunction, mood and wellness care . A large majority of users reported the disappearance or improvement of symptoms, improved quality of life and reduced use of prescription drugs and surgery . While expressing extremely high satisfaction with Chinese medicine, respondents also reported using a wide array of other therapeutic practices.


These respondents behave as astute consumers within a plural health care system. Details provided in Part II (in press) describe reasons given for satisfaction and places attitudes within a larger sociocultural framework.


Cassidy CM. Chinese medicine users in the United States. Part I: Utilization, satisfaction, medical plurality. J Altern Complement Med 4(1): 17-27. Spring 1998.


The above published research demonstrates the therapeutic effectiveness of acupuncture for the relief of major health problems, including stroke, cystitis and tinnitus. The last studys survey indicates that acupuncture, in addition to alleviating symptoms, can improve quality of life and diminish to requirement for prescription drugs and even surgery.

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