The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that approximately 38% of adults and 12% of children use some form of CAM.

First, the details.

  • The findings are from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual survey of Americans regarding their health- and illness-related experiences.
  • 23,393 adults aged at least 18 years of age and 9,417 children younger than 18 years were surveyed.

And, the results.

  • CAM use among adults is greater among women and those with higher education and incomes.
  • Nonvitamin, nonmineral natural products are the most commonly used CAM among adults.
  • The most popular natural products are fish oil/omega 3, glucosamine, echinacea, and flaxseed.
  • CAM use has increased for several therapies
    • Deep breathing exercises
    • Meditation
    • Massage therapy
    • Yoga
  • American adults are most likely to use CAM for musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck, or joint pain.
  • CAM for head or chest colds decreased from 2002 to 2007.

CAM included in the survey.

  • Acupuncture
  • Ayurveda
  • Biofeedback
  • Chelation therapy
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Diet-based therapies
  • Energy healing therapy/Reiki
  • Guided imagery
  • Homeopathic treatment
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Movement therapies: Alexander technique, feldenkreis, pilates, trager psychophysical integration
  • Natural products
  • Naturopathy
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Qi gong
  • Tai chi
  • Traditional healers
  • Yoga

The bottom line?
Religion and spirituality were not among the CAM options surveyed. If they had, the percentages would have been higher, as they were in 2002.

12/11/08 20:30 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.