Americans Spend Billions Of Dollars On Alternative Medicine: Study

Posted: Jun 23 2016, 12:47pm CDT | by , Updated: Jun 23 2016, 9:37pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Americans Spend Billions of Dollars on Alternative Medicine: Study
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Adults in the U.S. spent about $30.2 billion in 2012 for alternative treatments which could include yoga, acupuncture, herbal supplements and chiropractic care.

Americans are relying heavily on alternative medicine and are spending considerable amount of money on them. That’s according to the new report from National Center for Complimentary and Interactive Health (NCCIH).

Adults in the United States spent about $30.2 billion in 2012 alone for alternative treatments such as yoga, acupuncture, herbal supplements and chiropractic care. Stats show that Americans in general believe in alternative approaches and do not consider it a waste of money.

"One in five individuals aged 4 and over in the United Stateshad one or more expenditures for complementary health approaches. This equates to approximately 59 million individuals. A total of 55.2 million adults (23.5%) had at least one expenditure for some complementary health approach." Report reads.

Although these expenditures are just a small fraction of all money spent on health care in the United States, about 1% of total health care spending, they represent more than 9% of all out-of-pocket health care spending and are equivalent to  the cost of visits to conventional physicians and prescribed drugs they use.

“Substantial numbers of Americans spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on these approaches -- an indication that users believe enough in the value of these approaches to pay for them.” Study co-author Richard Nahin, an epidemiologist NCCIH said.

Alternative medicines are used in place of conventional medical care and they are believed to have fewer side effects. More importantly, people believe these alternative approaches work. Mostly these medicines are used to relieve pain from chronic conditions, to feel better and to improve overall health. 

Report further reveals that Americans spent $14.7 billion out of pocket on practitioners such as chiropractors, yoga instructors, acupuncturists or massage therapists which is almost 30 percent of what they spend on mainstream medical care while $12.8 billion spent on natural product supplements is comparable to 24 percent amount spent on prescription drug use.

"Integrative medicine is not going to have the same funding as pharmaceuticals do, but because of the consumer demand and increased interest from academia and our national government in integrative medicine and health, there has been an increase in research," said Stephanie Romanoff from Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine. "And increasingly, there's more research validating the value of these approaches."

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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