OVER ONE-THIRD OF AMERICANS USE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
More than 37 percent of U.S. households now use alternative medicine for therapeutic or preventative health care, according to a Thomson Medstat consumer healthcare survey of 23,000 adults. Alternative medicine practices include acupuncture, massage therapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine.
The primary reasons for use were general wellness (40.8 percent), treatment of an illness (32.5 percent), supplement traditional care (10.2 percent), and prevent an illness (9.9 percent). The survey results are consistent with a 2002 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, which found that 36 percent of Americans were using some sort of “complementary and alternative” therapy. Alternative medicine use is most prevalent among those with incomes over $100,000 per year (49.9 percent) and those with post-graduate degrees (49.6 percent).
“Despite widespread concern about the lack of FDA oversight over the alternative healthcare marketplace and the potential for adverse reactions between traditional medications and alternative supplements, the most highly educated and well paid Americans continue to drive the growth of the alternative medicine movement. It is instructive to note that the demographic group with arguably the most healthcare resources at its disposal is the most likely to seek alternatives outside the bounds of traditional Western medicine,” the survey authors conclude.
The most common alternative treatments were herbal supplements (23 percent), massage/chiropractic (22.1 percent), mind-body practices (6.5 percent), a category of acupuncture/naturopathy/Ayurveda (3.2 percent), and energy therapies (2.6 percent). Nearly two-thirds of respondents said their physicians were aware of their use of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine was used for lower back pain (45.9 percent), skin problems (44.7 percent), heartburn (40.1 percent), osteoporosis (36.2 percent), cancer (35.8 percent), and diabetes (32.1 percent). The survey found that people in the 35- to 64-year-old age group were the most prevalent alternative medicine users.
For more information about complementary and alternative therapies for treatment and wellness contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.