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J Nurse Midwifery. 1998 May-Jun;43(3):224-34.

Women's use of complementary and alternative therapies in reproductive health care.

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Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, CT 06536-0740, USA.


Numerous studies have documented that health care consumers all over the world are spending money out of pocket for alternative therapies and that billions of dollars are spent in the United States alone. In this article, the use of complementary and alternative therapies by women health care consumers is discussed, particularly as this phenomenon relates to women's reproductive health in the United States. Women use conventional health care services more frequently than men; thus, it is not surprising that women account for approximately two thirds of health care appointments for complementary and alternative therapies. The traditional conceptual frameworks of herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, and acupressure are presented, and common clinical applications to women's reproductive care are discussed.


Complementary and alternative therapies are gaining acceptance in the US and other countries, both among health providers and consumers. The potential for integration of complementary and alternative therapies into traditional patient care and contemporary models of science is a topic of increasing discussion. Women account for two-thirds of appointments with US practitioners of alternative medicine. Reproductive health problems, including menstruation disorders, infertility, menopause, and dysfunctions of pregnancy and delivery, offer opportunities for clinical applications of alternative approaches. Many midwives and nurses are interested in these approaches and have sought out special training. This article reviews three alternative approaches available in the US--herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture and acupressure--and discusses their potential applications to women's reproductive health care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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