Background: Little is known about why and how people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) use CAM, or of the perceived benefits of CAM use. The CAMELOT study explored care-seeking, self-management, costs, barriers and benefits of CAM use among this population. We report here on CAM used for treatment of diabetes and CVD, and non-clinical outcomes of CAM use. Methods: Data were collected in 2009-2010 via in-depth interviews (n = 69) and a self-report questionnaire (n = 2,915) among people with diabetes and/or CVD, throughout an Australian state. Analysis included contingency tables, chi-square analysis and thematic coding of interview and long answer survey data. Results: CAM use was generally part of a multi-component approach to chronic condition management. Choice of CAM practitioners and products varied and included CAM not usually associated with diabetes or CVD treatment, such as massage or manipulative therapies (44%). Most survey respondents perceived that CAM consultations resulted in symptom relief, improved general health and increased knowledge, understanding and confidence in condition management. Few people reported that they experienced any side effects from CAM. Economic barriers were significant in limiting access to CAM. Conclusion: More research is required to understand how the appropriate use and perceived benefits of CAM can be reinforced by stronger interaction or integration with mainstream health service delivery for chronic condition management and illness prevention.

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