OBJECTIVE: Empirical application of a theoretical framework linking use of Network Spinal Analysis (NSA; a holistic, wellness-oriented form of complementary and alternative medicine [CAM]), health lifestyle practices, and self-reported health and wellness. DESIGN: Cross-sectional self-administered survey study.
RESPONDENTS: Two thousand five hundred and ninety-six (2596) patients from 156 offices of doctors who were members of the Association for Network Chiropractic (currently titled Association for Network Care); estimated response rate was 69%.
MEASURES: Exogenous variables entered into the structural equation model include gender, age, education, income, marital status, ailments, life change, and trauma. A wellness construct consisted of calculated difference scores between two referents, “presently” and “before Network” care, for self-reported items representing wellness domains of physical state, mental-emotional state, stress evaluation, and life enjoyment. Positive reported change in nine items assembled into dietary practices, health practices, and health risk dimensions serve as indicators of the construct of changes in health lifestyle practices. The NSA care construct consisted of duration of care in months, awareness of energy and awareness of breathing since beginning Network care. RESULTS: Of the exogenous variables only gender, age, and education remain in the final parsimonious structural equation model in these data. Reported wellness benefits accrue to individuals along a direct path from both self-reported positive lifestyle change (0.22), and from NSA care (0.43). The path (0.65) from NSA care to positive health lifestyle changes indicates that NSA care also has an indirect effect on wellness through changes in health lifestyle practices.
CONCLUSIONS: The Structural Equation model tested in these analyses lends support to our theoretical framework linking wellness, health lifestyles, and CAM. This study provides further evidence that our measurements of health and wellness are particularly appropriate for investigating wellness-oriented CAM. There is a positive relationship between the experience of NSA care and self-reported improvements in wellness as well as self-reported changes in lifestyle practices. NSA care users tend toward the practice of a positive health lifestyle, which also has a direct effect on reported improvements in wellness. These empirical links are discussed relative to the sociodemographic characteristics of this population and show that use of NSA care is an aspect of a wellness lifestyle.