Military report more complementary and alternative medicine use than civilians
Objectives: The study objective was to estimate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among active duty military and compare data with civilian use.
Design: A global survey on CAM use in the 12 previous months was conducted. Final participants (16,146) were stratified by gender, service, region, and pay grade. Analysis included prevalence of CAM use, demographic and lifestyle characteristics.
Results: Approximately 45% of respondents reported using at least one type of CAM therapy. Most commonly used therapies were as follows: prayer for one's own health (24.4%), massage therapy (14.1%), and relaxation techniques (10.8%). After exclusion of prayer for one's own health, adjusting to the 2000?U.S. census, overall CAM use in the military (44.5%) was higher than that in comparable civilian surveys (36.0% and 38.3%).
Conclusions: Military personnel reported using three CAM stress-reduction therapies at 2.5–7 times the rate of civilians. Among the military, high utilization of CAM practices that reduce stress may serve as markers for practitioners assessing an individual's health and well-being.