More Than One-Third of U.S. Uses Natural Medicine

The largest study on non-conventional medical approaches in the United States done as a government survey found that 36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form of natural medicine that is defined as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. When prayer specifically for health reasons is included in the definition, the number of U.S. adults using some form of natural medicine in the past year rises to 62 percent. The numbers break down as follows:

  • Prayer for own health, 43 percent
  • Prayer by others for the respondent's health, 24 percent
  • Natural products (such as herbs, other botanicals, and enzymes), 19 percent
  • Deep breathing exercises, 12 percent
  • Participation in prayer group for own health, 10 percent
  • Meditation, 8 percent
  • Chiropractic care, 8 percent
  • Yoga, 5 percent
  • Massage, 5 percent
  • Diet-based therapies (such as Atkins, Pritikin, Ornish, and Zone diets), 4 percent.

You can see that we still have a long way to go though as only 4 percent or one in 25 are using nutrition to address their health. Fortunately chiropractic is up to 8 percent, or double those who use nutrition. I spoke to all the students at Parker Chiropractic College, which is one of the finest chiropractic colleges in the country. I had lunch with their incredible president, Fabrizzio Mancinni, and he has a great perspective on this low number and views it from a positive angle and just thinks that is much more of an opportunity. Similarly I believe that over 95 percent of the U.S. population is in desperate need of sound nutritional therapy.

But the report did have other interesting observations:

  • 55 percent of adults said they were most likely to use natural medicine because they believed that it would help them when combined with conventional medical treatments
  • 50 percent thought natural medicine would be interesting to try
  • 26 percent used natural medicine because a conventional medical professional suggested they try it
  • 13 percent used natural medicine because they felt that conventional medicine was too expensive
  • Interestingly, the survey also found that about 28 percent of adults used natural medicine because they believed conventional medical treatments would not help them with their health problem; this is in contrast to previous findings that CAM users are not, in general, dissatisfied with conventional medicine.

Center for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics May 27, 2004 20 page Full Text PDF Report

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