Taking control: complementary and alternative medicine in diabetes and cardiovascular disease management

Narelle Louise Warren, Rachel Elizabeth Canaway, Nalika Unantenne, Lenore Hilda Manderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The chronicity of chronic disease, and its associated uncertainties and fluctuations in health status, pain and/or discomfort, often leaves those so diagnosed feeling that they have lost control. Treatment can exacerbate this sense of loss of control, as people surrender to the expertise of their biomedical providers and interventions. In principle, self-management aims to return control to the individual, but its promotion is as much motivated by cost-containment as patient autonomy, and is advocated in an environment largely shaped by policy makers and biomedical providers. In this article, we examine how Australians with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease supplement medical with complementary and alternative medical (CAM) care. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 69 participants collected in 2009a??2010, we illustrate how people rely on medical providers and pharmaceuticals to manage their diabetes, but concurrently consulted with CAM practitioners and used non-biomedical therapies to enhance well-being. In explaining this, participants framed CAM use in the context of reclaiming relative personal and bodily control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323 - 339
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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