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    Did you know that about 38% of adults and 12% of children use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine; or that over a decade ago (imagine what it would be today!), the total visits to CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) providers exceeded the total number of visits to all primary-care physicians?

    Among those who have used one or more CAM therapies, and seen their medical doctor in the same year, 63-72% did not tell their doctor.

    Why?

    42% because their doctor never asked
    30 % said they did not know they should
    19 % felt there was not enough time during the office visit
    17 % didn’t think the doctor would know about the topic
    12 % thought the doctor would be dismissive or tell them not to use CAM.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the gulf of silence between patients and doctors can mirror the lack of communication between providers!

    Integrative medicine, which makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and healing, has to involve not only the practical and effective teamwork of a diverse array of providers (one component being integrated behavioral health into primary care), but also the marriage of approaches, conventional AND complementary (or CAM).

    It has been incredibly exciting for me to realize how two passions of mine are so closely connected!

    Stay tuned for my next post about why I believe the future of integrative medicine looks bright.

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    1. Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12.Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007.December 10, 2008

    2. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005. Information available at this URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83794/

    3. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/16826257/ns/health-alternative_medicine/t/most-dont-tell-doctors-about-alternative-meds/#.WBdrZ-ErLwc