American consumers spent an estimated $34 billion on alternative medicine in 2007. In fact, alternative medicine accounts for over 11 percent of out-of-pocket spending on health care in the United States. This surprising information comes from the first national estimate of dollars spent on alternative medicine in over ten years. The last government estimate of spending on alternative medicine was reported based on a 1997 survey that found spending to be at about $27 billion.
Alternative medicine includes any healing practice not falling within the realm of conventional medicine. Many such practicies include herbalism, homeopathy, hypnosis, naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga, biofeedback, diet-based therapies, Unani and traditional Chinese medicine. These practices are very diverse and may be based upon traditional medicine, folk knowledge, spiritual beliefs, newly conceived approaches to healing or a combination thereof.Read more »