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Massage Today
December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12

Canadian Youth Look to Alternative Medical Treatment

Massage therapy is most commonly used form of treatment.

By Editorial Staff

Chronic pain seems to be the reason young people in Canada seek out forms of alternative or complementary medical treatment. There also seems to be a wide gap between young people who use CAM treatments and those who don't.

Contributing factors to this disparity include where they live and their family income, according to a Queen's University study looking into the use of CAM by Canadian youth.

Massage therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy and naturopathy all fall under the umbrella of CAM. The study was funded by the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation and is the first population-based study of its kind. The study examines data from a 2000-2001 Canadian Community Health Survey and was collected by Statistics Canada. A total of 17,545 adolescents across the country, between the ages of 12 and 19 were surveyed. The term "disability" is defined by the researchers as having at least one impairment and at least one activity restriction.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Massage therapy is the most common form of CAM used by Canadian youth.
  • 75 percent of CAM users come from families with household incomes in the top two quartiles.
  • CAM use is highest in western Canada and lowest in the Atlantic Provinces and in the North.
  • 4.9 percent of Canadian adolescents visited a CAM practitioner in the last 12 months (girls outnumbered boys by more than 2:1).

While the study doesn't answer the question of the effectiveness of these treatments, it does show that across the country, there are different levels of access to alternative treatments based on education, income and geographic location.


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