Health Change in Patients Using Alternative Medical Systems In Cuenca, Ecuador

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Abstract

Many people are skeptical of the efficacy of what has become known as “alternative medicine,” such as acupuncture and homeopathy. The therapeutic effects of alternative medicine have not been conclusively documented, particularly from patients' subjective viewpoints. This paper investigates patients' perceptions of health change following the use of alternative medicine in Cuenca, Ecuador. Present and past patients of two alternative medical doctors, an acupuncturist and a homeopath, were interviewed to assess current symptoms, symptom severity rating, and satisfaction with the treatment program. Patients were reinterviewed for follow-up, and interviews with Cuenca community members were undertaken to gather information on the extent of the use of alternative medicine. Results were promising and showed that a substantial proportion of patients reported health improvements following alternative medical use. Overall, positive health changes are perceived and reported by individuals who chose to use alternative medicine.

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