Massage therapy is one of several complementary therapies (CAM) utilized by patients undergoing otolaryngologic surgery, according to new research.

Among the research’s results:

• Sixty-three percent (177 of 285) of the patient group had used CAM; 36 percent in the preceding year.

• Popular herbal remedies were cod liver oil, garlic, aloe vera, cranberry, echinacea, primrose oil, herbal vitamin supplement and St. John’s wort.

• Nonherbal therapies included massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, aromatherapy, reflexology, yoga, homeopathy and osteopathy.

• Nine percent used CAM for their admission illness.

• Nine-two percent of patients found CAM effective.

• Only 76 of 177 (43 percent) had discussed their CAM use with their family doctor.

The researchers issued a warning to physicians that a detailed intake that includes questions about patients’ use of CAM should be included in treatment.

The researchers stated that use of some CAM therapies could influence surgical care by inducing coagulopathies (clotting or bleeding disorders) and interacting with other medication.

“The use of CAM is common among patients undergoing otolaryngologic and head and neck surgery. This has implications for all health care workers involved in their care, in particular the anesthetist and the surgeon,” the researches noted. “A detailed history of CAM use by patients should be taken and documented during the preoperative clerking.”

The article ran in the Journal of Otolaryngoly: Head & Neck Surgory.

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