Why More Americans are Choosing Alternative Medicine

Woman performing reiki

There’s a good reason health practitioners are upgrading their skills, such as enrolling in a Reiki 2 course and other related holistic healing training programs. Despite the controversy that surrounds alternative medicine, more Americans choose — and believe — it.

The Growth of Alternative Medicine in the United States

Alternative medicine has been one of the strongest points of contention in the medical community. This is despite the fact that many practices, such as yoga and acupuncture, have been around for hundreds of years. Reiki, for example, began in 1922. Even with the heavy discussion on its pros and cons, there are a growing number of individuals who undergo it.

In the 2008 National Center for Health Statistics report, about 38% of adults used complementary alternative medicine (CAM). That’s about four in every 10 Americans. It was also a significant increase from 2007. Back then, only 36% opted for CAM. Meanwhile, one in every nine children had experienced some type of CAM.

A Statista data, on the other hand, showed the belief of Americans on CAM. An overwhelming 70% believed that these practices have positive effects on their health and well-being. A majority of these were women, while 62% were males.

Why Americans Choose CAM

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who chooses alternative medicine is poor or has limited access to healthcare. In fact, the same 2008 government report cited how CAM is the most common among women with higher income and education.

A 1998 study may provide some idea. In it, the researchers worked with three hypotheses. These included dissatisfaction with conventional treatment, healthcare autonomy, and compatibility with the patient’s values and beliefs.

Based on the results, the majority of those who opted for alternative medicine did so because it was compliant with their personal views and values. In the process, being given these choices allowed them to decide for themselves how to go about their healthcare.

Another report also suggested that patients who treat themselves with solely alternative medicine only make up a small percentage. They were no more than 5%. Most prefer to use such practices in combination with their traditional therapies.

In the end, alternative medicine provides Americans with choices and the power to make their personal healthcare decisions.