PLoS One. 2022 Sep 14;17(9):e0274334. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274334. eCollection 2022.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of use of complementary medicine (CM) in Switzerland in 2017, its development since the 2012 Swiss Health Survey, and to examine specific and non-specific sociodemographic, lifestyle and health-related determinants of CM use as compared to determinants of conventional health care use.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used data of 18,832 participants from the cross-sectional Swiss Health Survey conducted by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office in 2017 and compared these data with those from 2012. We defined four CM categories: (1) traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture; (2) homeopathy; (3) herbal medicine; (4) other CM therapies (shiatsu, reflexology, osteopathy, Ayurveda, naturopathy, kinesiology, Feldenkrais, autogenic training, neural therapy, bioresonance therapy, anthroposophic medicine). Independent determinants of CM use and of conventional health care use were assessed using multivariate weighted logistic regression models.
RESULTS: Prevalence of CM use significantly increased between 2012 and 2017 from 24.7% (95% CI: 23.9-25.4%) to 28.9% (95% CI: 28.1-29.7%), respectively, p<0.001). We identified the following independent specific determinants of CM use: gender, nationality, age, lifestyle and BMI. Female gender and nationality were the most specific determinants of CM use. Current smoking, being overweight and obesity were determinants of non-use of CM, while regular consumption of fruits and/or vegetables and regular physical activity were determinants of CM use.
CONCLUSION: Prevalence of CM use significantly increased in Switzerland from 2012 to 2017. Gender, nationality, age, lifestyle and BMI were independent specific determinants of CM use as compared to conventional health care use. Healthier lifestyle was associated with CM use, which may have potentially significant implications for public health and preventive medicine initiatives. The nationality of CM users underlines the role of culture in driving the choice to use CM but also raises the question of whether all populations have equal access to CM within a same country.