Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use by Patients From the Gulf Region Seen in the International Practice of a Tertiary Care Medical Center

Esayas B. Kebede, Judy Tan, Salma Iftikhar, Haitham S. Abu Lebdeh, Murali K. Duggirala, Amit K. Ghosh, Ivana T. Croghan, Sarah M. Jenkins, Saswati Mahapatra, Brent A. Bauer, Dietlind L. Wahner-Roedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients from various countries may have unique patterns of using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and unique reasons for using it. Objective: Our objective was to assess the use of CAM among patients from the Gulf region attending the Executive and International Health Program of the Department of General Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was administered to all patients who were from the Gulf region and were undergoing outpatient evaluation in the Executive and International Health Program. After their initial medical evaluation by a physician, the patients were invited to anonymously complete the modified International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire. Results: The survey was completed by 69 patients (41 women, 27 men; mean age, 45.4 years). The most frequently seen providers for CAM treatments were physicians (71.0% of patients), spiritual healers (29.0%), and chiropractors (20.3%). CAM treatments most frequently received from a physician were massage therapy (51.0%), hijama (38.8%), spiritual healing (24.5%), and acupuncture or herbs (16.3%). The most frequently used dietary supplements were ginger (42.0%), bee products (30.4%), and garlic (27.5%). The most common self-help therapies were prayers for health (68.1%), meditation (15.9%), and relaxation techniques (11.6%). CAM therapy, including visits to CAM providers, was used by 92.8% of patients. CAM was mainly used to improve well-being and long-term health conditions rather than for acute illnesses. Conclusion: The use of CAM was high among our patients from the Gulf region, and the CAM therapies used by this population differed from the ones used by US patients. Physicians providing care to patients from the Gulf region should be aware of how the use of CAM may affect the care needs of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Advances In Health and Medicine
StatePublished - 2021


  • acupressure
  • acupuncture
  • complementary and alternative medicine
  • integrative medicine
  • prayer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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