Americans Increasing Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Americans spend $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) each year, according to a recently-released 2007 National Health Interview (NHI) survey. CAM includes acupuncture, bio and neuro-feedback, chiropractic, herbal supplements, meditation and various forms of relaxation therapy that are not routinely considered to be part of conventional medicine. CAM accounts for approximately 11.2% of total out-of-pocket expenditures on health care in the United States each year. The survey found that approximately 38% of adults use some form of CAM every year and spent approximately $12 billion on an estimated 354 million yearly visits to CAM practitioners such as acupuncture therapists, bio-feedback and neuro-feedback trainers, chiropractors and massage therapists. The number of adults using CAM mind-body therapies has increased in comparison to NHI’s previous data collection in 2002,

Bio-feedback, guided imagery, meditation, deep breathing exercises and yoga all saw increased usage. There were decreases in the use of progressive muscle relaxation, tai chi and energy healing therapies. There were no changes in the frequency of use of hypnosis and Qi gong.

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