A new survey explores the attitudes and practices of primary care physicians caring for children with autism using CAM treatments, and finds physicians report they are more likely to ask patients with autism about CAM use and desire more CAM education for this population.

Massage therapy is one of several modalities covered by the “CAM”—or complementary and alternative medicine—label pasted on a variety of health care techniques by the medical establishment.

This national survey was conducted by the University of Minnesota and will be published this week in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 150 children in the U.S. is affected by autism, and one half to three quarters of these children are being treated with CAM therapies.

The National Center for Complementary Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health describes CAM as, “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine.”

While past surveys indicate that physicians desire more CAM education, this survey indicates they desire CAM education specifically for children with autism.

“Physicians need access to balanced education that will inform their own recommendations for specific CAM therapies and adequate information to care for families who elect their use,” said Allison Golnik, M.D., M.P.H., the study’s author and an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Pediatrics.

Visitors to MASSAGE Magazine’s site may click on this article title to read: “Building Bridges of Communication: Autistic Children Helped Through the Power of Touch,” which was published in the November 2007 print edition.