Research shows Australian women are strongly connecting with the ancient remedies of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

The Australian Research Centre for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine has released a report looking at the factors associated to the use of these two treatments among more than 17,000 female survey participants over a 12-month period.

It found that women with chronic conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, low iron and arthritis, were more likely to use Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatments.

The data also suggested a difference in the use of such remedies among subjects in ‘young’ (aged 34-39) and ‘middle-aged’ (aged 64-67) cohorts, with 9.5 per cent and 6.2 per cent admitting to consulting an acupuncturist, while  5.7 per cent and 4.0 per cent, had used Chinese medicine.

Centre Director and report co-author Professor Jon Adams said it was an important finding.

“This research is important in providing a first examination of the prevalence and predictors of acupuncture and Chinese medicine use amongst women in Australia,” he said.

“Our research shows the level of use of these health care services are substantial and it is important that all involved in assessing treatments as well as health care planning, policy and practice in women’s health be mindful of the complementary treatment options that may be popular amongst women.

“Critical public health has an important role to play in ensuring this important area of health and health care received sufficient rigorous and scientific scrutiny.”

Other interesting outcomes were that among users of both treatments, those from the young cohort were more likely to have private health insurance and reside in urban areas, while non-smokers were significant users within the middle aged group.

Also, survey subjects who were married or in a de facto relationship were less likely to use Chinese medicine compared to their single counterparts, while those with private health insurance were 1.65 times more likely to use the treatment compared to those without.

Users of Chinese medicine from the young cohort feature a large proportion that have been diagnosed with endometriosis, low iron levels anxiety disorder and Chronic fatigue syndrome.

Women in the middle-aged cohort who consulted an acupuncturist were more likely to have low iron levels, anxiety disorder, depression, Chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis when compared to women who had not consulted.

The survey is accessible here.