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Future doctors support integrated therapies

January 20, 2010 |  7:41 am

Acupuncture It has taken a long time for complementary and alternative medical practices to gain acceptance in traditional Western medicine. But future doctors appear to be much more open to CAM therapies.

A national survey of medical students published today shows three-quarters of the students think conventional Western medicine would benefit by integrating more CAM therapies. CAM includes such treatments as massage, herbal medicine, yoga, acupuncture and meditation and encourages a mind-body approach to healing and prevention of illness. The survey was performed by researchers at UCLA and UC San Diego. They gathered 1,770 surveys from students at 126 medical schools throughout the country.

The survey also found some hesitation, however. Few students said they would recommend or use these treatments in their practice until more scientific evidence is gathered.

"Our research suggests that persuading doctors to integrate CAM will require investment in the types of clinical research that form the backbone of Western medicine," said study author Ryan Abbott of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine.

The study is published online today in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

-- Shari Roan

Photo: An acupuncture treatment. Credit: Jung Yeon-He  AFP/Getty Images

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