Reasons Behind growth of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine

Alternative medicine more popular in ancient days as it has tremendous techniques of healing diseases. The alternative is meant for Possibility or choice on conventional medicine. But development in the conventional Medicine education and practices became vast in this generation. In industrialized countries, adaptations of traditional medicine are termed “Complementary” or “Alternative” (CAM).

Since decades, people in the United States adopt conventional medicine, easier in approaching the experts and almost all methods are scientifically proved. Of particular interest the relationship between complementary and conventional medicine is Lack of health knowledge.

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People with higher incomes attracted towards Conventional  medicine. More conventional medical practitioners are becoming more open to the use of complementary therapies as supportive treatments. However, you must still make sure that you make informed decisions before adopting any form of treatment, whether it is conventional or alternative.

United States government spent $2.5 billion expense to test alternative medicine.


The conventional and alternative medicine defined by the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), states that it is “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine”. In 1999, 7.7% of US hospitals reported using some form of CAM therapy, this proportion had risen to 37.7% by 2008. CAM, which includes such practices as yoga, massage, herbal medicine, and meditation, has been increasing in popularity for many years.

Reasons for use include medical need, prevention and wellness promotion, and cultural relevance. The NHIS administration in 2007 has included a 15-minute Complementary and Alternative Medicine supplement. The supplement contained 36 complementary approaches used in the United States. These approaches selected and examined. They are acupuncture, chiropractic/osteopathic manipulation and traditional healers. Moreover, 26 self-care approaches, such as special diets, yoga, and use of non-vitamin natural products such as botanical dietary supplements. Similar complementary and alternative medicine NHIS supplement surveys also conducted in 2002 and 2012. In response to increased consumer demand, funding for research studies on alternative medicine is growing. But compared with traditional medical methods, evidence is still limited, which has left many questions unanswered.

For many types of CAM therapies, found that the rate of use increased as the level of education increased. This pattern observed for biologically based therapies, alternative medical systems, energy therapies, and manipulative and body-based therapies. The analysis of CAM use by income revealed an interaction between the type of therapy and income. Individuals who exhibited poor a slightly higher prevalence of megavitamin therapy and prayer use. Than individuals who were not poor 65.5 and 62.6 percent. CAM use to be less common among African Americans. However, individuals who are not poor reported higher rates of use of biologically based therapies, alternative medical systems, than poor individuals.

Image credit: NIHS

CAM therapies being more prevalent among women

Among the approximately 62 million reproductive-age women in the US, CAM use is prevalent, with two-thirds of these women reporting some past year CAM use. CAM therapy utilized by people associated with having one or more medical conditions, with having a diagnosed chronic disease. In addition to medical need, users have shown to be more likely to engage in leisure time physical activity, to be former smokers, to consume alcohol moderately, have a healthier body mass index, eat a lower fat diet, and utilize preventive medical services, such as cholesterol screening.

Complementary medicines remain green in general. This happens due to the use of natural substances that processed simply. You can’t find any high tech manufacturing processes in it, which make use of hazardous and polluting chemicals or carbon polluting energy. “Complementary methods have the potential to mitigate such addiction problems, and may help address the root problem rather than just managing the symptoms, which is a real benefit.” This study indicates a greater need among doctors to follow best-practice guidelines for sharing information about integrative practices, combining conventional western and CAM approaches, Burke said.

Image credit: NHIS chart

Researchers examined the medical records of patients who received acupuncture or chiropractic care in 2011. The 66 percent patients who received acupuncture accessed the services through their health plan. Using a clinician referral or self-referral benefit. About 45 percent of patients who received chiropractic care accessed that care through their health plan. The remainder of patients went outside the health plan to access these services, or used a combination of health plan and outside resources to access the services.

Individuals with more education were 8–26% more likely to select ‘lack of need’ for chiropractic, acupuncture, and natural products. Other national surveys have shown higher educational attainment associated with greater utilization of complementary health practices, not less. This observed relationship between educational attainment and both the use and non-use of complementary approaches speaks to the role of education as a logical contributor to health knowledge, and consequently, to healthcare decision-making and utilization. One could reasonably expect greater health knowledge related to both the selective use and non-use of complementary health practices based on perceived healthcare/wellness needs and cultural fit.

“Limited health knowledge as a reason for non-use of four common complementary health practices” by Adam Burke and Richard L. Nahin and Barbara J. Stussman of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Usage of Wellness programs at Work Place

Image credit: GWI

Another study examines the current state of wellness in the global workforce. It predicts what the future of work will look like. It makes the case for why wellness will matter more in the future, and also presents a new vision for wellness at work as well as a framework for actions that will help improve workforce health and unleash human potential. This report also includes a survey of over 600 full-time workers in the U.S. conducted by Everyday Health in partnership with the Global Wellness Institute.

Knowledge on health defined as ”The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health”. Patients with lower health literacy knew less about the various medications they were taking. That difference in understanding, however, did not negatively impact medication adherence or adverse events. Although lack of health knowledge can reduce access to potentially beneficial provider-based and self-care therapies. It does not necessarily preclude utilization in resources made appropriately available to patients.

Provider-oriented strategies could include broader implementation of best practice guidelines with low socio economic status individuals. Including recommendations of complementary therapies. Approaches such as these could help reduce inequities in health knowledge and understanding. Improve access to care for underserved populations.