Alternative Medicine in a Kibbutz Community
D. Hermoni, M. Kafman, E. Kitai
Dept. of Family Medicine, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, The Technion, Haifa and Family Medicine Dept., Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
Interest in, and use of alternative medicine has increased in the past few years in Israel. Still, little is known about the extent to which it is utilized, the more common treatments, patterns of use, and its influence on the conventional primary care system. We surveyed a kibbutz community to determine prevalence and patterns of use of alternative medicine and satisfaction with the outcome. The entire kibbutz population was asked to fill out a questionnaire (parents answered for their children). They were questioned as to their use of alternative medicine in the previous 5 years, types and dates of treatment, duration of treatment, and whether it had helped.
Of 1044 subjects, 830 responded (79.5%). 16.4% had used alternative medicine at least once in the previous 5 years. Of these, more than a 1/4 were treated by 2 or more types of alternative therapy. About 2/3 of those responding were women. Most had muscle-skeletal (36%), upper respiratory and/or atopic problems (19.3%). The most common treatments were homeopathy (31%) and acupuncture (20%). In approximately 2/3, the treatment was considered helpful, and either solved the problems or gave long-lasting improvement. 70% of those who used alternative medicine were treated within the previous 15 months and about 40% within the previous 3 months. The use of alternative medicine is increasing and it is now includein standard medical services. Most of those who used alternative therapy felt is hadhelped.