A National Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use for Treatment Among Asian-Americans


Asian Americans (AAs) are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) compared to other race/ethnicities, yet previous studies have conflicting results. The 2012 National Health Interview Survey data was analyzed to investigate AA’s (n = 2214) CAM use for treatment. AAs were divided into four subgroups: Chinese, Asian Indian, Filipino, and Other Asian. Only 9% of AAs reported using CAM for treatment, with 6% indicating CAM use specifically for chronic conditions. This could be a form of medical pluralism, a mixture of Eastern and Western health approaches. The “Other Asian” subgroup reported highest use of CAM for treatment. Significant predictors included age (≥ 65 years) and high educational attainment (≥ college degree). Sociodemographic factors were also significant predictors within Asian subgroups. Further investigation of this and other forms of medical pluralism among AAs are needed to explore potential cofounders and risks like underreporting, CAM schedules/dosages, cultural influences, and CAM’s impact on one’s health.

Document Type





Asian-Americans, Complementary and alternative medicine, Medical pluralism, Medical treatment, Secondary analysis

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health