Use of alternative medicine on the rise
By Michael Murphy on December 11th, 2008(viewed 3661 times).

Use of alternative medicine on the rise HEALTH | Nearly 40% of adults, 1 in 9 children turn to unproven options if (SITELIFE_ENABLED == true){ gSiteLife.Recommend("ExternalResource", "1325464,CST-NWS-altern11", ",CST-NWS-altern11.article"); }//if true December 11, 2008 BY MONIFA THOMAS Health Reporter » Click to enlarge image Nearly 40 percent of adults in the United States use alternatives to conventional medicine, including herbal supplements, chiropractic care and massage therapy, according to the survey by the National Institutes of Health. (Sun-Times News Group file)

It's the first such effort to examine children's use of alternative medicine, a catch-all for the wide range of nontraditional treatment not usually taught in medical schools.

The survey also shows that overall use of alternative medicine has remained stable since 2002, though meditation, massage therapy and yoga have grown in popularity.

The survey results are in line with the medical community's "growing acceptance" of alternative medicine, said Dr. Melinda Ring, medical director of Northwestern University's Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness.

"It is not as much just something experimental," Ring said. "It's something that's being viewed as a valid form of treatment with actual benefits."

Adults used alternative medicine most often to treat chronic back and neck pain. For kids, these therapies were most often used to treat colds, anxiety and attention deficit disorder.

So-called "natural products" -- such as fish oil, glucosamine and flaxseed-oil pills -- were the most widely used form of alternative treatment for kids and adults.

Some experts cautioned that many of these herbal supplements have not been proven to be effective or safe, and they're not subject to rigorous testing like prescription drugs.

Another concern is whether these supplements should be used by children, since most research has been done on adults.



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