1 Sociologisk Institut, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Section of Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Danish MS Society, Valby, Denmark, and the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (LS); the Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (IKP); and NAFKAM, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway (MV).4 Section of Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 Sociologisk Institut, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet
a qualitative study of treatment assumptions among people with multiple sclerosis in denmark
BACKGROUND: A survey of members of the Danish MS Society revealed that a minority of MS patients choose to forgo all types of conventional treatment and use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) exclusively. A qualitative follow-up study was performed to elucidate the choice of exclusive CAM use by exploring treatment assumptions among a group of exclusive CAM users. METHODS: The study was based on a phenomenological approach. Semistructured in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 17 participants, using program theory as an analytical tool, and emerging themes were extracted from the data through meaning condensation. RESULTS: Four themes characterized the participants' treatment assumptions: 1) conventional medicine contains chemical substances that affect the body in negative ways; 2) CAM treatments can strengthen the organism and make it more capable of resisting the impact of MS; 3) the patient's active participation is an important component of the healing process; 4) bodily sensations can be used to guide treatment selection. CONCLUSIONS: Exclusive use of CAM by MS patients may reflect embracing CAM rather than a rejection of conventional medicine. Health-care practitioners, patient organizations, and health authorities within the MS field should be aware of possible changes in patients' attitudes toward both CAM and conventional treatment interventions.
International Journal of M S Care, 2014, Vol 16, Issue 3, p. 124-31