Where is the Health Community on Alternative Medicines Today?
Alternative medicines are more commonly accepted today by the health community than in the past. Certain alternative medicines, previously considered ineffective and illegitimate health solutions, are now being used by more doctors and gaining endorsements from much of the health community.
Common alternative health practices used today include:
• Aromatherapy (e.g., essential oils, incense)
• Herbal Remedies (e.g., dietary supplements)
• Massage Therapy
• Spiritual Therapy (e.g., beliefs, religious practices or prayer to treat disease)
Many of these alternative medicines are useful for common health problems and they’re also used to bring about total well-being. Often these are associated with more holistic healing approaches that address the body as a whole rather than just one part or symptom. This basic practice is something doctor use in diagnostics, but lack in overall treatments. These alternative approaches offer patients a whole body healing experience and are often more successful.
Studies Show More Americans Turning to Alternative Medicine
The health community recognizes that many people prefer the advantages of the natural effects that alternative medicine and natural therapies have to offer, rather than experience the side effects of health products to help health problems. Approximately 4 in 10 US adults (about 38 percent) are using some form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). People in the US spend about $34 billion on CAM practices and products each year. This is a trend that seems to only go upward as prices for traditional medical practices increase. Time and money is something all these alternative practices use to their advantage in comparison to their competitors.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Acceptance of alternative medicines has grown so much that the US Department of Health and Human Services created the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). In 1998, the NCCIH was founded as the federal government’s leading agency for scientifically researching different health care systems, practices, and products that aren’t considered part of conventional health. The agency receives more than $100 million each year to conduct research and update the public on alternative medicine information. This agency has been instrumental in getting many alternative treatments off the ground.
A 2007 National Health Interview Survey reported that the most common reason people in the US turn to alternative medicine is for relief. Researchers have focused their efforts on health solutions such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and massage therapy with natural products like doTERRA products, and chiropractic aid.
Conventional and Alternative Medicine Trends
One NCCIH study revealed a substantial number of Americans used both normal health products along with dietary supplements:
• About 75 percent used one health product and one supplement
• About 33 percent used three or more health product and three or more supplements
• About 10 percent used five or more health product with five or more supplements.
As more research and education reveals the benefits of complementary and alternative medicines, wider acceptance by the health community should continue to increase.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.
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