The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched Time to Talk, an educational campaign to encourage patients—particularly those age 50 or older—and their health care providers to openly discuss the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The program launch was announced in mid June. Geriatric massage is anticipated to grow as a massage specialty as baby boomers continue to age.

CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine, such as massage therapy, herbal supplements, meditation, naturopathy and acupuncture.

According to a national consumer survey conducted by NCCAM and AARP, almost two-thirds of people age 50 or older are using some form of CAM, yet less than one-third of these CAM users talk about it with their providers. The NCCAM/AARP survey revealed some reasons why this doctor-patient dialogue about CAM does not occur. The most common reasons survey respondents cited were:

• That the physician never asked
• They did not know they should discuss CAM
• There was not enough time during the office visit.

More than one-half of respondents who had talked about CAM with their physician said they (not their physician) initiated the CAM discussion. The telephone survey was administered to a nationally representative group of 1,559 people age 50 or older.

Click here for more information on geriatric massage.

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