A preliminary study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners in Singapore

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ObjectivesTo investigate the profile and health attitudes of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners in Singapore.Design and settingA descriptive survey with convenience and snowball sampling were used. An anonymous self-administered survey was sent to 130 practitioners found in publicly accessible online practitioner registers, groups, and directories practicing CAM modalities from April 2010 to October 2010.Main outcome measuresParticipants' demographics, business structure, and attitudes towards health, CAM and orthodox medicine (OM).ResultsResponse rate was 32%. The data suggest that the typical CAM practitioner in Singapore is a middle-aged female who specialises in more than one CAM modality. Almost half (45%) of the participants possessed a degree and massage is the most commonly practiced modality. Participants practiced an average of 2'3 therapies and group-practice size ranged from 2 to 15 practitioners. Most participants (69%) experienced a radical change in job type to become a CAM practitioner and their previous employment suggests a slightly middle-class profile. The cost and duration of initial consultation and treatment ranged from SG$20 to SG$345 and 30'120min, respectively. The most common source of CAM information was seminars/lectures/workshops (76%). Communication and referral between CAM and orthodox medicine practitioners are high (>70%). Participants perceived CAM to be more suitable for disease prevention than treatment of serious medical conditions.ConclusionsThis study provides important base-line data that will help future researchers explore further Singaporean CAM practitioners' business aspirations, and attitudes towards regulation and integration with OM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


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