The BBC survey of complementary medicine use in the UK

Complement Ther Med. 2000 Mar;8(1):32-6.


Introduction: Recent data about the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by the general population exist for Australia and the USA, but not for the UK. This study aimed at providing such data.

Design: Nationally representative random telephone survey.

Setting and participants: 1204 British adults were interviewed.

Results: 20% of the sample used CAM in the previous year. Herbalism, aromatherapy, homoeopathy, acupuncture/acupressure, massage and reflexology were the most popular treatment modalities. The main reasons for trying CAM were its perceived effectiveness, a positive inclination towards it, and its relaxing effects. On average, users spent 13.62 +/- 1.61 Pounds on CAM per month, which extrapolates to an annual expenditure of 1.6 billion Pounds for the whole nation.

Conclusions: It is concluded that CAM is prevalent in the UK. Therefore, its scientific validation has become an ethical imperative.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires