Use of complementary and alternative medicine in the Scandinavian countries

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2005 Mar;23(1):57-62. doi: 10.1080/02813430510018419.


Objective: To describe the prevalence of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Norway, Denmark and Stockholm County.

Design, setting, and subjects: In Norway, a national representative sample of 1000 participants completed telephone interviews regarding their CAM use in 1997 (response rate 51). In Denmark, a national representative sample of 16 690 participants completed questionnaires and interviews regarding their health and morbidity in 2000 (response rate 74). In Stockholm County, a randomly selected sample of 1001 participants completed telephone interviews about their CAM use in 2000 (response rate 63).

Results: Prevalence of ever-use of CAM was 34% in Norway, 45% in Denmark, and 49% in Stockholm. Use of CAM is associated with poor self-reported health in all three studies, and with visits to a medical doctor in Denmark and Norway. More women than men, and more with higher education, reported use of CAM. Most frequently used CAM therapy was homeopathy in Norway, reflexology in Denmark, and massage in Stockholm County.

Conclusions: Use of CAM is common in the Scandinavian countries, and there are national differences regarding therapy preferences. Many individuals use both CAM and conventional health services.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies* / methods
  • Complementary Therapies* / statistics & numerical data
  • Denmark
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden