Survey: 38 million US adults turning to alternative therapies

WebMD reported,  “Most Americans believe that prescription medications are the most effective treatments for many common illnesses, but a Consumer Reports survey of more than 45,000 people finds that three-fourths of us are turning to alternative therapies like yoga and acupuncture.”

Specifically, “38 million adults make more than 300 million visits per year to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other practitioners of alternative and complementary techniques,” the report found.

Among key findings of the survey:

  • Consumers ranked prescription drugs as most effective for nine of 12 conditions — allergies, cold and flu, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, headache and migraine, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and osteoarthritis.
  • Of the 46% of respondents who used prescription drugs for osteoarthritis pain, 53% said it helped a lot; 54% of respondents used glucosamine/chondroitin for osteoarthritis symptoms, and 25% said it helped a lot.
  • Of the 27% of respondents who used meditation, 42% said it helped “a lot” with anxiety.
  • 43% of respondents used deep-breathing exercises for anxiety, and 34% found it helped a lot.
  • Chiropractic care was ranked as the most effective treatment for back pain.
  • Pilates, yoga, and deep-tissue massage all rated about the same as prescription medication for back pain.
  • Vitamins and minerals were the most commonly used alternative treatments for general health, with 73% of respondents taking them.

A majority of people who said they used alternative therapies had told their doctors about it.

To learn more about alternative medicines, consider picking up a copy of my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely.

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