About 38% of adults in the United States and nearly 12% of children use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a new government survey. Overall CAM use among adults has remained relatively steady since a similar survey in 2002. However, there were significant increases in some types, such as deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy and yoga.
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine. The 2007 survey results are based on data from more than 23,300 interviews with American adults and more than 9,400 interviews with adults on behalf of a child in their household. The survey included questions on 36 types of commonly used CAM therapies.
The most common uses of CAM in adults are for back and neck pain, joint pain, arthritis, anxiety, cholesterol, head or chest colds and other musculoskeletal conditions.
“The data point out the need for patients and health care providers to openly discuss CAM use to ensure safe and coordinated care,” said Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.