Alternative Medicine Use on the Rise in U.S.

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Alternative medicine use on the rise in U.S.

The National Health Interview Survey reports that in 2007 $33.9 billion out-of-pocket dollars were spent on CAM in the U.S. That’s compared to $286.6 billion out-of-pocket dollars spent on conventional medicine and is 11.2 percent of total out-of-pocket health care expenditures.

CAM includes such things as acupuncture, biofeedback and neurofeedback, chiropractic, herbal supplements, meditation, and various forms of relaxation therapy that are not routinely considered to be part of conventional medicine.

The survey found that 38 percent of adults use some form of CAM every year, spending an estimated $12 billion on 354 yearly visits to CAM practitioners. That’s an increase compared to the last time the data was compiled in 2002.

Among the therapies being used more often are biofeedback, deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga – all things that encourage a mind-body connection. The therapies that are not being used as often include tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation and energy healing therapies.