According to a large-scale national survey, most current medical students believe that knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) would greatly benefit Western doctors.
CAM is characterized by a more individualized approach to patient care and utilizes therapies such as yoga, herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage.
Researchers at the University of California sent a 30-question survey to more than 120 medical schools and found that 77 percent of respondents believe that patients would benefit more if their physicians had a strong understanding of CAM in addition to Western medicine.
"Even now, medical schools have the opportunity to train the next generation of medical practitioners in healthcare systems outside of conventional medicine," said study author Ryan Abbot. "Core values of CAM can help students develop a more holistic and individualized approach to patient care."
Researchers also found that the further along a medical student was in school, the more likely he or she was to believe that their knowledge of CAM therapies was sufficient.
A total of 44 academic institutions now comprise the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, which attempts to advance the principles of holistic healthcare.