Consider these interesting statistics and facts from a survey completed in 2007:
- In 2007, 4 out of 10 adults had used some sort of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM).
- The most commonly used CAM therapies include non-vitamin, non-mineral, natural products; deep breathing exercises; meditation; chiropractic care; yoga; massage; and diet-based therapies.
- The most commonly used non vitamin, non mineral, natural products used by adults for health reasons in the past 30 days were fish oil or omega 3 or DHA, glucosamine, echinacea, flax seed oil or pills, and ginseng.
- The prevalence of many individual therapies was similar between 2002 and 2007, acupuncture, deep breathing exercises, massage therapy, meditation, naturopathy, and yoga showed significant increases.
- CAM therapies are most often chosen for back pain or back problems, head or chest colds, neck pain or neck problems, joint pain or stiffness, anxiety or depression, and less prevalent, but still used to treat symptom relief for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lung diseases.
- CAM is more prevalent among women, among adults who had higher educational attainment or who engage in leisure-time physical activity, as well as among adults who had one or more existing health conditions or who made frequent medical visits in the prior year.
While I think we as a nation have a long way to go in pursuing complementary and alternative medicine, it's encouraging to see the interest that is out there both from the public and NIH. I will look forward to seeing more data from their website and will share with you.