Family practitioners' knowledge and attitudes towards various fields of non-conventional medicine

Shlomo Vinker, Sasson Nakar, Nir Amir, Alex Lustman, Michael Weingarten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The common feature of the different varieties of non-conventional medicine (NCM) is the lack of recognition, complete or partial, given to them by the institutions of conventional medicine. Treating all varieties in the same way can cause confusion. AIM: To investigate the knowledge and attitudes of family practitioners (FP) in the methods of NCM that are most commonly practiced in Israel. METHODS: Anonymous questionnaires were used that tested knowledge and probed attitudes about FP about acupuncture, homeopathy, shiatsu and reflexology. RESULTS: 130 FP participated in the study (response rate 91%). In-depth training of any one of the NCM methods was rare (3-7%). Overall, a very minimal level of knowledge of all four methods was found--58% did not manage to answer even one knowledge question correctly, and the best result was five correct answers out of eight. Most of the doctors recognized NCM as legitimate, and thought that conventional and non-conventional medicine should co-exist side by side. Over 30% saw the possibility of integrating all four NCM methods within the institutions of conventional medicine. No significant difference was found in the doctors' attitudes towards the different methods. Better knowledge was associated with more positive attitudes towards NCM (p < 0.05), and a greater likelihood of referring patients (p < 0.1). CONCLUSION: Since attitudes towards NCM seem to be shaped by knowledge to a certain extent, educators should consider teaching more about these treatments both in medical schools and as part of CME.

Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)883-887, 930
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


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