Objectives: Among the complementary and alternative medical services available in Japan, only judo therapists are covered under the national health-insurance program without a referral from a physician. Many orthopedists claim that judo therapists deprive them of potential patients. If such competition exists, fewer patients would be expected to visit orthopedists in areas where many patients visit judo therapists. Therefore, we examined the correlation between the number of patients visiting judo therapists and those visiting physicians for musculoskeletal diseases. Methods: In a cross-sectional study covering each prefecture in Japan (n = 47), we obtained figures for the numbers of judo therapist facilities and elderly patients (over 70 years old) who visited them and the numbers of orthopedists and patients who visited physicians for musculoskeletal diseases. Correlations between the numbers of practitioners per 100,000 population and the numbers of their patients per 100,000 population were examined by prefecture. Results: There were positive correlations between the numbers of judo therapist facilities and elderly patients who visited them (r = 0.72, P < 0.01, n = 47), and between the numbers of orthopedists and elderly patients who visited physicians for musculoskeletal diseases (r = 0.32, P = 0.03). However, there was no significant correlation between the numbers of elderly patients who visited judo therapist facilities and those who visited physicians (r = 0.06, P = 0.68) for musculoskeletal diseases. Conclusions: This study did not find a negative correlation between the numbers of patients visiting judo therapists and patients visiting physicians for musculoskeletal diseases. Thus, these results do not support the orthopedists' claim that the two services compete for patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health