Background: Acupuncture is the complementary treatment most commonly used by general practitioners. This study describes the use of acupuncture among Norwegian general practitioners trained in acupuncture.
Material and methods: By telephone or mail, a questionnaire was presented to 212 general practitioners who had completed training in complementary acupuncture. They were asked to describe the use and effect of acupuncture and their attitude towards acupuncture.
Results: Of the 111 physicians who replied (53%), 67 (60%) used acupuncture in their clinical practice. 78% had acupuncture courses of less than four weeks' duration only. 52% stated that acupuncture was the preferred treatment in more than 5% of their patients. About 70-80% used acupuncture as a supplement to conventional treatment. Acupuncture was commonly used in patients with musculoskeletal pain (93%), migraine (66%), and headache (63%), less often in patients with nausea, allergy, anxiety, sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal disorders. Improvement was reported in approximately three out of four patients. Lack of time was regarded as the major limitation to the use of acupuncture.
Interpretation: Many general practitioners trained in complementary acupuncture use acupuncture as an integrated part of their clinical practice.