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More People Using Alternative Health Therapies


Americans spends about 34 billion dollars on alternative health according to the first national estimate of such out-of-pocket spending in more than a decade. This indicates that more people are using alternative therapies.

Alternative health and complicacy practices include the use of herbal and vitamin supplements, meditation, message, chiropractic, acupuncture, biofeedback, energy work, yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, and homeopathic treatment. Alterative therapies include treatment that is not part of conventional medicine.

Out of the $33.9 billion spent out-of-pocket on alternative health, about $22 billion went toward self-care costs. Most of the money ($14.8 billion) went to buy non-vitamin, non-mineral natural products such as fish oil, glucosamine and echinacea, according to the report. That's equivalent to about one-third of total out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs, which is a clear indication that more people are using alternative therapies the researchers noted.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine and director of the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn. said "this report lends support to the growing field of integrative medicine, which strives to blend conventional and complementary practices thoughtfully and in light of the available evidence."

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In the United States, alternative therapies accounts for 1.5 percent of all health-care costs in the United States, but 11.2 percent of all out-of-pocket costs. Total health-care spending in the United States totals $2.2 trillion and out-of-pocket costs for conventional medicine comprise $286.6 billion, according to the report.

It is suggested that the rise of use in alternative health because the cost of medical treatment continue to raise year after year alternative medicine serves as another way of healing. Certain therapies not only are cheaper, it could also be effective.

Other reasons include conventional medicine focuses on the relief of symptoms and rarely places emphasis on prevention or the treatment of the cause of a disorder. All alternative systems, on the other hand, strive to find and treat the cause of a disorder and frown on covering up the symptoms. Alternative therapies are also much more focused on prevention which tends to get people more involved with their care.

Alternative medicine equals hope for so many people. Many people who found no cure with conventional medicine seem to find some hope or relief with alternative therapies which is why more people are using alternative therapies.

References: Associated Press and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth



Memcatch.com has created a platform for collecting and sharing real world, outcome-based patient experience data (memcatch.com), and use it to encourage medical professionals to incorporate safe and effective alternative medical practices whenever possible. By having our voices (experiences) heard and working together we can achieve our goals and help others with life changing illnesses. Peter Sabbagh