Alternative medicine users more knowledgeable, earn more than others, study finds

Tuesday, September 08, 2015 by

A resilient and courageous heart will set a template for wellness inside, and the answers will come to them, in faith, from nature, from within. People who have struggled with their own health problems and overcame them through personal study and implementation have found that alternative medicine is not alternative at all. It’s the real deal. Nature is alive with answers, and healing starts within.

The very things deemed “alternative” by society’s standards are really the foundation for optimal wellness. Whether it’s organic fruits and vegetables, medicinal roots and berries, or flowering herbs and spices, the alternative is really the foundation. Complementary health practices like yoga and meditation, chiropractic care, acupuncture and detoxification strategies promote quality of life, but very few people understand how these practices can restore their mind, body and spirit. The more a person understands the purpose of these foundational health strategies, the more they will rise above a diseased state of being. Pharmaceutical drugs, medical intervention and the deadly risks they pose can be avoided altogether if there was a greater understanding in the art of healing.

Lack of alternative health knowledge correlated with poverty, lack of education

Now researchers at San Francisco State University are finding out that alternative medicine users are more educated and earn more than those who are not knowledgeable in the healing arts. They found that people with lower education levels and lower incomes are less likely to know about natural solutions to their health, including things like chiropractic care, yoga and acupuncture.

“It’s very important to know why somebody is not doing a particular behavior,” said Adam Burke, director of SF State’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies. “If your child isn’t eating broccoli and you want him to, you need to know why. If it’s just a matter of the pieces being too big, you can cut it up. But if you don’t know why, the child will not eat the broccoli.”

Looking into data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, researchers examined 13,000 people who said they never used acupuncture, chiropractic, natural products or yoga. The study found that people’s lack of knowledge kept them from complementary and alternative health strategies. They found that those with higher incomes were 37 percent less likely to indicate lack of knowledge as a reason for not using alternative medicine. Similarly, they found that those who attended college were 58 percent less likely to indicate lack of knowledge.

“The implication of this study is that the lack of access to health knowledge is a root of health inequity,” Burke said. “If you are poor, you have less access to health information for a variety of reasons.”

Another insight from the study found that people who are less physically active are more likely to claim lack of knowledge for not using holistic, complementary health strategies.

Lack of alternative health knowledge keeping people in pain and addicted to harmful pharmaceutical drugs

Burke was surprised by another of the study’s results. Burke thought that patients with back pain would be more knowledgeable in the use of complementary holistic health strategies. Back pain sufferers will often seek out chiropractic care, acupuncture or yoga. However, the lower education levels and incomes still prevented back pain sufferers from seeking out alternative treatments.

“Often, the solution for chronic pain is addictive prescription medications, which are problematic in all communities, especially in lower-income communities,” Burke said. “Complementary methods have the potential to mitigate such addiction problems and may help address the root problem rather than just managing the symptoms, which is a real benefit.”

Burke added that it’s especially important for back pain sufferers to know about complementary and alternative methods. He calls for doctors to become more knowledgeable about these alternative methods themselves and to educate patients on how to integrate these complementary practices into their lives.

“It’s highly likely that a lack of knowledge prevents some individuals from using these integrative approaches — if they knew more, they would use them more,” Burke said. “These are cost-effective treatments that have limited side effects and may actually help remediate people’s problems. Especially in lower-income communities, it is important for health care providers to recommend them.”

Sources:

http://news.sfsu.edu

http://journals.plos.org

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