Polish physicians' attitudes to complementary and alternative medicine

Complement Ther Med. 2016 Aug:27:51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.05.004. Epub 2016 May 20.


Objective: The aim of the study was to assess and compare attitudes, beliefs, and desire for education regarding CAM among Polish junior and senior doctors.

Design: A descriptive survey.

Setting: Between October 2014 and April 2015, 170 physicians were surveyed (89 senior and 81 junior doctors). The respondents were participating in vocational refresher courses for physicians or in specialist training organized by the Polish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists.

Methods: The beliefs about CAM were surveyed by a structured, self-administrated questionnaire. The additional section contained questions concerning the respondents' attitudes toward 6 CAM methods: acupuncture, energy therapy, homeopathy, chiropractice, visualization and herbal medicine. For each treatment respondents were asked to indicate whether they believed (1) it should be recommended to patients, (2) it should be accepted that patients use it, or (3) patients should be actively discouraged from using it.

Results: Senior doctors had more positive attitudes towards CAM than doctors who had just started their medical practice, although scepticism or uncertainty about the value of CAM was prevalent in the sample as a whole. Despite their scepticism physicians are open to conducting scientific research on CAM and discussing CAM with their patients.

Conclusion: Given the views held by doctors that the training and activities of CAM therapists should be regulated by the Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, the integration of CAM into medical curriculum and the Polish public healthcare does not yet seem feasible. There is a need for a public debate about CAM and a legal framework regulating practice of CAM in Poland.

Keywords: Attitudes; Complementary and alternative medicine; Medical curriculum; Physicians; Poland.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Complementary Therapies / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Poland