Use of complementary therapies by mothers in their children: study at an university hospital

The objective of this article is to evaluate the use of complementary therapies by mothers in their children. A cross-sectional and descriptive study with 202 mothers of children that attended an University Hospital were interviewed. The variables analyzed were: use of complementary therapies/reasons, therapies used its purpose, effects, doctor's revelation/reasons and doctor's reaction. The prevalence of complementary therapies use was of 87.6%. Among the 177 mothers that used complementary therapies, many mentioned more than one kind, as follow: teas (72.8%), blessings (41%), sympathies (12.9%), homemade remedies/syrups (8.4%), prayer/promises (7.4%), homeopathy (4.0%), spiritual/parapsychological treatment (4.0%), mixture of unknown substances/"garrafada" (bottled) (3%), massage (2%) and reiki/floral (1.5%). The most used herbs were anise (16.7%), chamomile (14.8%) and mint (10.9%); 57.6% of the mothers did not inform its use to the doctor. Out of 499 treatments employed, there was a perception of improvement in 429 (86%) and 2 reports of adverse effects. The prevalence of complementary therapies utilization was high, being teas the most utilized therapy and anise, chamomile and mint the most used herbs. There was perception of improvement in most of the used therapies.

Complementary therapies; Pediatrics; Education; Medical; Alternative therapies; Mothers

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