Use of Complementary Medical Therapies Plateaus

December 10, 2008
Shari Roan
Los Angeles Times

1990, people were stunned when a Harvard researcher published a report showing that more than one-third of Americans use complementary and alternative medicine. But the trend seems to be softening, and even the definition of what constitutes CAM therapy is becoming somewhat problematic.

A federal government survey released today shows only a 2% growth of CAM therapies, such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic and acupuncture from 2002 to 2007. The data, from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey of 23,000 adults and 9,500 children, found that about 38% of adults use CAM and about 12% of children, ages 17 and under. The most common CAM therapies are:

Natural products that are not vitamins or minerals. The most common of these were fish oil/omega-3/DHA; glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil or pills and ginseng — 17%.
Deep breathing — 12%
Meditation — 9%
Chiropractic — 8%
Massage — 8%
Others: yoga, 6%; diet-based therapies, 3%; progressive relaxation, 2%; guided imagery, 2%, homeopathic treatment, 1%. More…