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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Complementary and Alternative Medicine On The Rise

Written by Tena Moore

A recent survey on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has shown some results that aren’t too surprising: CAM use is rising among American adults and children. Almost 40 percent of American adults over the age of 18 have used some type of complementary or alternative therapy or medicine, while nearly 12 percent of children aged 17 and under have used CAM. That is nearly four in every ten adults, and one out of every nine children.

CAM therapies have not been studied extensively in the United States like pharmaceutical medicines, but that is not stopping the public from using them, and using them on their children. Perhaps the survey results will prompt the medical community to head the call of more research for CAM therapies, along with a more integrative medical approach.

Complimentary medicine is used as a compliment to conventional medicine, such as acupuncture treatments or chiropractic work being used to treat pain in addition to pain medicines, or a nicotine-free herbal tincture being used in addition to the stop-smoking drug Chantix.

Alternative therapies are used to replace conventional medicine altogether, such as someone using St. John’s Wort tincture, 5-HTP supplements, yoga and meditation to control their depression and low moods, instead of using prescription medicine.

Back pain was the leading reason that Americans reported using complementary and alternative medicine techniques, followed by neck and joint pain as well as arthritis, according to the survey by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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