More and more Americans are turning to alternative and complementary forms of medicine such as yoga, meditation, chiropractors and acupuncture. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, more than 30 percent of American adults and roughly 12 percent of American children use “healthcare approaches that are not typically part of conventional medical care or that may have origins outside of usual Western practices.”

Non-mainstream practices used in place of conventional medicine are considered “alternative” methods. The combination of conventional medicine and non-mainstream practices are considered “complementary” methods. Complementary methods are growing in the United States according to the National Center for Health Statistics’ National Health Interview Survey. According to the survey, the practice of yoga rose roughly five percent in both adults and children between 2012 and 2017 while meditation jumped a little under five percent in children and soared roughly 10 percent higher in adults between 2012 and 2017. The use of chiropractors did not change much for children, but increased slightly with adults.

According to Richard Nahin, the lead epidemiologist at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and co-author of the reports, “Many people turn to complementary health approaches, such as yoga and meditation, in order to help with symptom management, such as pain. As well, they turn to these approaches for a general sense of wellbeing.” This is because all three methods of complementary medicine appear to have health benefits, Nahin noted. Yoga, for example, has been known to assist with mental health, stress management and lower back pain. Meditation, meanwhile, has been shown to help with irritable bowel syndrome. It is certainly good to know that there are real medical benefits to practices that are rapidly becoming a staple of so many Americans’ lives.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Health class 101: make sure to drink eight glasses of water a day. What, if, you decided to not drink water at all though? What if you stopped drinking it for an entire year? It sounds downright impossible and unimaginable, and something no health professional would ever suggest doing. Well it’s not only possible but […]

A consistent exercise routine has been proven to have many health benefits such as reduced risk of heart conditions, stress, lowering cholesterol levels, building stronger bones, and help with weight loss. A recent study shows that exercising regularly not only played a role in mental and physical health, it also improves happiness A study published […]

Research has already shown that running is an activity that can help our overall health, but how much do we have to run to gain the benefits? Researchers from Australia, Austria, Finland, and Thailand performed a comprehensive analysis of available evidence and found that any amount of running is linked to a significantly lower risk […]

While the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus an international health emergency, you don’t need to panic too much just yet. Fears and misconceptions surrounding the virus have been spread all over the internet. This is leaving people with more questions than answers, so the WHO started a campaign to educate the public. The […]