Introduction: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has been on the rise over the past two decades. However, most CAM surveys demonstrate that blacks use CAM less often than whites. There is a shortage of review articles summarizing this discrepancy in use. Therefore a greater understanding of the true prevalence of different forms of CAM used by blacks is warranted.
Methods: This review was generated through a three-step process. The first step involved a 2002-2011 literature search performed using key terms: African Americans, blacks, complementary therapies, prayer, herbal medicine, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and mind-body therapies. Databases included the Index to Chiropractic Literature, PubMed, Alt Health Watch, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). The intent was to find all peer-reviewed original articles about Non-Hispanic black usage of major forms of CAM during the intended time frame. The second step involved hand-searching numerous journal articles for relevant studies. The third step involved reference tracking of the articles that had already been discovered to find new articles. Following screening, articles were then grouped thematically for discussion purposes as follows: acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, massage therapy, mind-body therapies, and prayer as forms of CAM, as well as CAM use articles for specific health conditions.
Results: Thirty-six original articles met the inclusion criteria. This was composed of thirty-five original surveys and one focus-group analysis.
Conclusion: The existing evidence suggests that Non-Hispanic blacks use CAM significantly less than whites, with the exception of prayer. The reason for this difference should be further investigated.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for free full text. Link to PDF version