Quality Of Life in Traditional and Complementary Medicine – An Overview


Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Universiti Sains Malaysia




Quality Of Life in Traditional and Complementary Medicine – An Overview


7th INTRACOM – 2nd ICBWI 2009


23rd-26th July 2009

Place Held

PWTC, Kuala Lumpur


In general, T&CM approaches may be divided into two broad categories:- Complementary or integrative approaches (working along with conventional medicine) and Alternative approaches (working in place of conventional approaches)
The field T&CM is still poorly researched, even when this option of treatment is gaining popularity and trust from patients. Double blind placebo controlled clinical trials for T&CM may not be easily pass the ethical review board. However, a quality of life (QOL) outcome study where T&CM is added to standard therapy is feasible and very useful. Traditional medicine is used not only to prevent, diagnose, improve and treat illness, but also to maintain health and improve quality of life. The results of the studies offer guideline to patients whom are usually overwhelmed with vast varieties of alternative and complementary therapies. Convincing results from such studies are also being awaited by allopathic medicine practitioners. However, research progress in this field is very slow, due to several factors: lack of funding, lack of research skills, lack of academic infrastructure, insufficient patient numbers, difficulty of undertaking and interpreting systematic reviews and methodological issues. In QOL research, the selection of assessment tool should not be based on availability of translated and validated questionnaire but should consider the following issues:

• The aspects of QOL that are to be measured, e.g. physical, mental (depression, anxiety, positive well-being), vitality, self-control, sexual, independence, financial, living environment, spirituality & meaning of life, relationships and psycho-social supports, general health and general satisfaction
• The choice between generic and disease specific QOL questionnaire
• Subjective or objective assessment methods
• The illnesses, the therapies, and their respective stages
• The issue of response shift and psychological reversal
• The national and international popularity of certain QOL questionnaires

Researchers should be passionate and committed enough and should be prepared to design and validate their own questionnaires in situation where the available questionnaires do not meet the objectives of their studies. The way forward for good quality research in T&CM, is training in biostatistics and research methodology to T&CM members of appropriate registering or accrediting bodies, governmental funding, collaboration between practitioners, health ministry and universities.


Traditional and Complementary Medicine


Plenary 10


Not Available