Use of CAM by General Practitioners

There is a growing interest in alternative treatment methods among physicians as well as patients.

As mentioned above, in developed Asian countries, traditional non-medical practices are highly recognized socially, are supported by the state, and are widely used alongside conventional medicine. It is common for allopathic doctors to recommend non-medical therapies. According to a Japanese survey, for example, 60-70% of all physicians regularly prescribe kampo medication (traditional Japanese herbal medicine).(169)

However, CAM therapies are also widely used and recommended by GPs in developed Western countries. A survey showed that 46% of Swiss doctors use some form of CAM therapy, most often homeopathy and acupuncture. This number corresponds to the percentage of CAM users among the Swiss population. The situation in the UK is comparable – nearly 40% of British doctors offer or recommend some form of CAM. (170) CAM is very popular in Germany – according to a survey, 60% of German family doctors use CAM in their practice (see page 166).

In this chapter, we present surveys showing that many GPs welcome the opportunity to use CAM therapies as a supplement to conventional treatments, especially for minor problems (e.g. in children) when an alternative procedure or remedy can replace chemical drugs and their negative side effects.

(169) WHO. WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002–2005 [online]. 2002, p. 11. [cit. 2018-04-01]. Available from:
(170) Ibid., pages 11–12.