Who Uses Integrative Health Practices?

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I firmly believe in integrative health practices.  Techniques and methods borrowed from ancient traditions, such as yoga, manual therapies like massage and manipulation, Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, homeopathy, meditation and others have definitely earned their place in modern treatment plans.

Am I weird?  Are YOU weird if you believe the way I do?  Well you’ll be relieved to know that we are definitely in good company in our beliefs.

The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recently released a report of the National Health Interview Survey.  Briefly, every year the NIH conducts a survey of 35,000-40,000 homes asking questions about the occupants’ health (both adults and children).  Every 5 years the survey includes questions about complementary and alternative health topics.  The last survey including these topics was in 2012.

In the 2012 survey, NIH found that integrative health practices are on the rise!  Both adults and children are practicing yoga in larger numbers.  Meditation, massage and acupuncture use was stable over the last 10 years.  Chiropractic manipulation therapy was stable among adults, but more parents are choosing manipulation therapy for their children.

The use of natural supplements is changing as well.  Almost 20% of adults and about 5% of children use dietary supplements (defined as products other than a multivitamin).  Fish oil was the most popular product in both adults and children. Other commonly used products include probiotics, glucosamine, coenzyme Q10, garlic and ginseng.

Melatonin use is REALLY on the rise.  Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in sleep.  The use of melatonin in adults more than doubled in the last 5 years, but the big increase occurred in children.  Melatonin use in kids increased 7-fold between 2007 and 2012.  I guess Americans, both adults and children, are having more trouble sleeping and are seeking a remedy that will give them restful sleep.

What does all this data mean?  1/3 of adults and over 10% of children reported using integrative health techniques in 2012.  The bottom line is we’re NOT weird.  We’re in good company and our numbers are growing!

If you’d like to read the survey results yourself, they can be found at this link.

QUESTION:  Do you use integrative health practices?  Which ones do you use?



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