Almost half of Israelis used alternative medicine last year, a new study found. Conducted by the Alternative and Traditional Medicine Unit of Clalit Health Services and the Western Galilee Academic College, the study encompassed 3,713 respondents, both Jews and Arabs.
It revealed that 45% of Jews and 42% of Arabs turned to unconventional medicine in 2008. "We found that patients from different multicultural backgrounds support the incorporation of alternative medicine into the healthcare system,
and assign a central role to the family doctor," said Dr. Yael Keshet, one of the researchers behind the study.
"Cultural sensitivity is very important in introducing new treatments to the community," she added.
According to the study, Arabs reported more frequent use of traditional healing (50% compared to 28% of Jews) and herbs (35% compared to 28%), while Jews were more inclined to use alternative methods for dieting and dietary supplements (43% compared to 34%), energetic healing, bodymind methods, chiropractics and homeopathy.
Both Jews and Arabs (90% and 94% respectively) said they expected their family physician to be open about alternative medicine and more than 80% of respondents said they expect the doctor to refer them to an alternative healer should this become necessary.
The study also found that the vast majority of the public (95% in each group) support the incorporation of unconventional medicine into the conventional health system.