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Climacteric. 2008 Apr;11(2):124-34. doi: 10.1080/13697130801930674.

Use of complementary medicinal therapies in West Pomerania: a population-based study.

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  • 1Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Clinical Research Center of Women's Health, Berlin.



Prior studies suggested a high prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Germany. The objectives of this study were (1) to describe in more detail the utilization of CAM, (2) to compare characteristics between CAM users and non-users, and (3) to delineate information on source of prescription and insurance coverage of 14 specific CAM therapies.


We extracted information derived from a computer-aided personal interview on the use of CAM, medical history, behavioral, and sociodemographic characteristics, all of which were generated by the Study of Health in Pomerania (formerly part of East Germany), a cross-sectional population-based survey. We analyzed data from 4291 individuals aged 20-79 years.


Use of any CAM within the previous year was reported by 6.0% of the population. The modality used most widely among CAM users was active and passive exercise therapy (including various massage therapies). CAM users, when compared to non-users, were more likely to be female, experienced more years of education, were more physically active, less often overweight, reported a lower self-rated physical health status, and were more likely to visit an outpatient facility during the last year. There were higher proportions of several chronic diseases in CAM users than non-users. The results of this survey suggest that CAM therapies were most often utilized to alleviate pain. Most CAM therapies were prescribed by a physician. Reimbursement schemes were complex and differed according to therapy.


The low estimate of CAM use might be explained by specific characteristics of the study region, including changes after the German reunification. CAM users and non-users differ with respect to several behavioral, sociodemographic and medical characteristics.

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