Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Increases Positive Lifestyle Factors
August 28, 2012 -
This study is published by Advances in Mind-body Medicine.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to a wide range of
disease-treating and preventive therapies that are not considered traditional or
conventional by biomedical standards. Research suggests that CAM use is
increasing. Understanding lifestyle differences based on level of CAM use may be
important knowledge for health-care providers.
To understand the relationship between level of CAM use (high, medium, or low)
and three lifestyle factors-spirituality (ie, a sense of fulfillment from being
spiritual), environmental consciousness (ie, a concern for the environment), and
health awareness (ie, monitoring the nutritional value of food). Design
Participants completed the Perspectives on the Use in Communities of CAM
questionnaire, which measures levels of spirituality, environmental
consciousness, and health awareness among CAM users. Participants also rated
their frequency of CAM use across a wide array of CAM practices. The authors
calculated total CAM use by summing the frequency of use of 28 CAM therapies,
and they grouped individuals into three categories of usage: low (n = 42),
medium (n = 108), and high (n = 40). They then examined the relationships
between the use categories and the three lifestyle categories.
study occurred at a midsized Midwestern university, the University of South
Dakota. Participants included 131 female and 59 male college students (young
The authors performed a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with three
dependent variables: spirituality, environmental consciousness, and health
awareness. The independent variable was level of CAM use. Results: MANOVAs
indicated significant main effects, suggesting changes in lifestyle practices
based on level of CAM use. Follow-up results and planned pairwise comparisons
suggest that level of CAM use affected all three lifestyle practices. Moreover,
unexpected results demonstrated that as the level of CAM use increased from
medium to high, health awareness also increased.
The results suggest that as CAM use increases, positive lifestyle factors
increase. These findings highlight the importance of CAM use as a method of
increasing overall health as well as improving practitioners' understanding of
and ability to assist patients in increasing overall well-being through
nontraditional or nonconventional means.