Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a popular treatment option for many populations. The present work is aimed at studying the knowledge and attitude of health professionals in the Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia, toward CAM.
Material and Methods:
In this cross-sectional survey, a multistage random sample was taken from health professionals working in hospitals in Riyadh city and surrounding governorates. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire, from 306 health professionals working in 19 hospitals, on socio-demographic data, knowledge about CAM and their sources, and attitudes toward CAM practices.
Of the participants, 88.9% had some knowledge about CAM. Respondents with a doctorate degree (94.74%) and 92.53% of those with a bachelor's degree had significantly higher knowledge of CAM than subjects with a diploma, a fellowship, or a master's degree (68.75%, 76.67%, and 85.41%, respectively, P = 0.004). Mass media represented 60.1% of sources of the knowledge of CAM followed by family, relatives, and friends (29.08%) and health educational organizations (14.71%). Participants estimated that prophetic medicine including prayer, honey and bee products, medical herbs, Hijama, nutrition and nutritional supplements, cauterization, and camel milk and urine were the most commonly used CAM practices (90.5%, 85%, 76.9%, 70.6%, 61.4%, 55.9%, and 52.5%, respectively) in addition to medical massage (61.8%) and acupuncture (55%). One hundred and fifteen (80%) physicians were ready to talk with their patients on CAM.
The willingness to improve knowledge and create a positive attitude in health professionals toward CAM has increased. Religious practices, especially those related to prophetic medicine, are more common in the region. Health educational organizations have to play a greater role by being the source of evidence-based knowledge of CAM. Talking on CAM with patients should be improved by rooting them on evidence-based practices.