Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Supplements, Yoga Are Most Popular Forms of CAM

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Supplements, Yoga Are Most Popular Forms of CAM

Article excerpt


Americans are increasingly relying on dietary supplements and yoga as their preferred forms of complementary health care, according to findings from two federal government surveys of more than 100,000 adults and children.

The newly released data indicate that nonvitamin and nonmineral dietary supplements, such as fish oil and melatonin, have become the most popular forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among American adults, with 18.9% of surveyed adults in 2002 saying they use them and 17.7% of adults indicating they used such supplements in 2007 and 2012.

Also popular are deep-breathing exercises which were used by 11.6%, 12.7%, and 10.9% of American adults in 2002, 2007, and 2012, respectively. Activities like yoga, tai chi, and Qigong also increased in popularity from 5.8% in 2002 to 6.7% in 2007, and 10.1% in 2012 (P < .05 for all).

These findings come from two new studies --one focused on adults, the other on children --conducted jointly by the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and called the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

The investigators surveyed 88,962 adults aged 18 years or older and interviewed 17,321 "knowledgeable adults" for information on children aged 4-17 years during the years 2002, 2007, and 2012.

"The survey data suggest that consumers are paying attention to medical evidence and using it to inform their decisions," said Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of NCCIH, during a telebriefing with reporters. "For example, the use of melatonin, shown in studies to have some benefits for sleep issues, has risen dramatically.

Conversely, the use of echinacea has fallen, which may reflect conflicting results from studies on whether it's helpful for colds. While NHIS does not assess why shifts in use occur, some of the trends are in line with published research on the efficacy of natural products and reaffirm why it is important for NIH to study these products and to provide that information to the public."

Yoga, in particular, has increased in popularity tremendously since 2002. As of 2012, approximately 1.7 million children and 21 million adults practiced yoga, the latter figure being twice as high as the number from 2002 and the former increasing by roughly 400,000 over the same time frame. …

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