Purpose: Complementary and integrative health (CIH) is common among patients in the U.S. and is a useful tool for athletic trainers to provide holistic treatment. There is currently minimal literature regarding athletic trainers’ experiences and outcomes of using CIH modalities for patient treatments. The purpose of this project was to explore the experiences and outcomes of collegiate athletic trainers using CIH modalities. Methods: This study used qualitative semi-structured interviews, analyzed by phenomenological approach, using consensual qualitative research analysis. Trustworthiness and credibility of the consensus codebook were established by member checking, multi-analyst triangulation, and auditing. Fourteen athletic trainers (7 females, 7 males, age=38±12 years, years of experience=15±12 years) engaged in an online interview (Zoom, San Jose, CA). All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Results: Four domains (Figure 1) emerged regarding the experiences and outcomes of CIH use by athletic trainers: 1) education, 2) motives, 3) clinical application, and 4) barriers. Participants had divergent educational pathways; self-directed learning was the most common pathway. Motives for using CIH interventions included improved subjective outcomes and patient preference. Participants discussed a variety of modalities and outcomes to assess their implementation. Barriers included stakeholder buy-in and resources. Conclusions: Participants noted improved outcomes via addressing the whole patient when using CIH. As athletic trainers interact with diverse patient populations, CIH interventions may provide more opportunities to include holistic care. However, education on CIH varies between participants. Education surrounding interventions in athletic training, regardless of the level of learning, should focus on quantifiable and meaningful clinical and patient-rated outcomes, which should include CIH approaches. Moreover, additional objective research regarding the outcomes of using CIH as a treatment modality is needed among athletic populations to increase stakeholder buy-in.
Cantlebary K, Rivera MJ, Hamilton S, Eberman LE. Experiences and Outcomes of Athletic Trainers Using Complementary and Integrative Health: A Qualitative Study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2023 Jun 29;21(3), Article 16.