Objective: To describe the Israeli complementary and alternative medicine users and examine whether they are the same or different from non-users.
Design: This analysis was conducted on data collected from the use of health services module (n=2,365) of the Israeli National Health Interview Survey conducted 2003-2004. The questionnaire was based on the European Health Interview Survey and was administered over the telephone by trained interviewers.
Subjects: This survey was conducted on a random sample of the Israel general population age 21 years or more.
Outcome measures: Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Complementary and alternative medicine was defined as self-reported use of homeopath, acupuncturist, chiropractor/osteopath, naturopath, or other complementary and alternative provider services for the subjects' own health needs in the last 12 months.
Results: Almost 6 percent of Israelis reported using complementary and alternative medicine. Use increased with income. Users were more likely to visit any doctor or a specialist in the prior 4 weeks to the survey compared to nonusers. Users self-reported similar use of pain medications compared to nonusers.
Conclusions: These findings inform the international debate regarding if and how complementary and alternative medicine services should be covered by national health insurance.