People who haven't used any alternative or complementary medicine or therapy probably haven't heard of it or know very little about it, say researchers from San Francisco State University. And this lack of knowledge was strongly associated with lower educational levels and income.
It remains the case even if the person has a health condition that isn't being helped by conventional medicine. The researchers took as their model chronic lower back pain, a massive problem for which conventional medicine has few answers, other than powerful and addictive painkillers.
Complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture or chiropractic have much to offer, say the researchers, but sufferers who had a poor education were far less likely to know about them.
The researchers, who based their findings on a survey of 13,000 respondents who had never used any alternative medicine, say it is the responsibility of doctors to inform patents of alternatives, especially when they have nothing that can help.
(Source: PLOS ONE, 2015; 10(6): e0129336)