Alternative Therapies and Quality of Life

  • J. X. Zhang
Reference work entry


Nearly half of adults in the United States use  complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) every year, and Americans are visiting CAM practitioners more frequently than primary care physicians. Worldwide, the prevalence rates of CAM use in adults ranged from 9 to 76%. Despite the significant growth in CAM use in the past decade, there exists a lack of consistency in the body of CAM literature as to precisely what CAM is. There is also a paucity of evidence on the efficacy of CAM. The research on the efficacy of CAM use is faced with many challenges that are different from those associated with conventional medicine. Historically, the common drawbacks in CAM research include poor study design, small sample size, and inadequate controls. In recent years, high-quality research articles have begun to emerge in leading medical journals. However, the evidence on the efficacy of CAM use on quality of life (QOL) is not convincing. Even for those areas of CAM which have been studied with several relatively large trials, it is unclear whether the observed effect is due to true CAM intervention or placebo effect.


Conventional Medicine Acupuncture Group Sham Acupuncture Community Clinical Oncology Program Sham Acupuncture Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


complementary and alternative medicine


Center for Epidemiologic Depression Scale


congestive heart failure


Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale


irritable bowel syndrome


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine




perceived stress scale


periosteal stimulation therapy


randomized controlled trials


36-item short-form health survey


short physical performance battery


traditional Chinese acupuncture


Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

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  • J. X. Zhang

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