Stories of complementary therapies in the Spanish digital newspapers

Stories of complementary therapies in the Spanish digital newspapers


Mendoza-Poudereux, I.; Cano-Orón, L. & Moreno-Castro, C. (2018). “Stories of complementary therapies in the Spanish digital newspapers”. Communication featured at the 15th International Conference on Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST 2018). Dunedin (New Zealand), April 4-6.


Use and acceptance of complementary therapies in Spain have in recent years earned attention among the public opinion, due to the heavily charged controversy between skeptics and promoters. For that matter, the relevance of stories production on the matter is fundamental for the polarisation of citizens views. Official data available on the number and/or use of these therapies are scarce. Briefly, a study prepared in 2008 by the Observatory of Natural Therapies and the report prepared by the Spanish Government Health Division in 2011. Here, the total recount of alternative therapies to be found in Spain is established as 139, however, the extent of their use and knowledge by Spaniards is still uncertain. Therefore, the main objective of this research is to analyse the volume of news generated by the media about those therapies in order to be able to: firstly, detect the therapies with more media resonance and, secondly, to relate them with their actual use.

A search of all the news published in 388 digital media gathered in MyNews database with any of the 139 therapies mentioned during 2015-2016 period was carried out, giving rise to a gross sample of more than 23,400 stories; this is carefully quantitatively analysed.

Results obtained until now show that 35% of the therapies have absolute no media presence during the period studied and only 20% of them appear in more than 100 different stories.

The study shows that the volume of press generated on complementary therapies does not necessarily follow their use pattern among Spanish population; therefore, it is impossible to establish a direct correlation between press impact and use. Complementary therapies use in Spain is not affected by its depiction in the press.