Hope is the driving force behind any health and nutritional approach.
Nearly 40 percent of Americans utilize nutrition and various health care approaches developed well outside of the mainstream or conventional medicine at present. .
This is especially true when faced with health conditions and diseases for which mainstream solutions offer only unimpressive statistical outcomes; are often severely invasive and usually come with a list of potential side effects equal to or even more dangerous than their original complaint or issue.
When describing the various approaches from non-mainstream roots people often use the words “alternative” and “complementary” interchangeably, but the two terms refer to quite different concepts:
Complementary medicine usually refers to a non-mainstream approach to general health and well being. It includes a number of therapeutic practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, etc. It is frequently implemented together alongside mainstream medicine whereas Alternative medicine is usually a completely non-mainstream approach in place of conventional medicine.
Alternative medicine is an approach that is used to replace traditional treatment and therapy. It may include swallowing or applying herbal substances, adhering to a special diet, or a combination of approaches that are not usually recommended by a doctor who practices conventional medicine.
And as an additional note, Integrative medicine combines conventional, complimentary and alternative treatments that have proven themselves, over time, for their safety and effectiveness.
In the United States nearly 40 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (about 1 in 9) are using some form of CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine).
According to the National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2007, 83 million U.S. adults spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on visits to CAM practitioners and on purchases of CAM products, classes, and materials. In total, there were approximately 354 million visits to CAM practitioners and approximately 835 million purchases.
Of that year’s total of $2.2 trillion dollars in health care expenditures, $268.8 billion was spent by consumers for traditional medicine approaches out of their own pockets.
So, while consumers are increasingly looking for alternative or integrated solutions to what ails them, clearly the bulk of money is continuing to remain in the mainstream.
However, that may change.
Consumers are more and more proactive in educating themselves on the alternatives as they become more and more frightened by ever increasing side effects to conventional approaches. And, while the fight to enforce ingredient and potential side effect information requirements by food and drug manufacturers continues in the courts and even in Congress and the Senate – access to knowledge is nearly impossible to prevent.
And that’s a good thing!