New Report: Americans Spend Billions on Alternative Health Care

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A new study released by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says American spent about $34 Billion in 2007 on complementary and alternative health care.  In fact, about 38% of all US citizens are now reaching further than their allopathic (Western medicinal) care.  While the study doesn’t cover the “why’s”, most speculate it has a lot to do with patients searching for answers when the doctors and hospitals fall short.  Some say it’s the rising health care costs that forces people to search for other answers, perhaps something they can do for themselves.

I’ve got a hunch it’s a large number of reasons; I feel the country is ripe for returning to some natural medicinal roots, if you will.  No, insurance isn’t to be had by everyone.  And when a cold or flu, or a more minor complaint comes around, instead of forking over a rising copay amount (or the entire amount if there’s no insurance at all), many people are learning to care for themselves or are heading to an alternative medicine provider.  We’ve also been inundated with news reports of pharmaceutical side effects, and many of us have experienced such.  While I certainly don’t advocate the immediate dumping of all your prescriptions and I don’t think you should shun your family doctor’s care, it is good to hear Americans are looking towards a more natural approach when they can.

I’d love to know why my readers are doing such.  I know you are – otherwise you wouldn’t be the least bit interested in hanging out with me.  Lots of you go to chiropractors, practice herbalism, are massage therapists or natural healers (as so many of you have shared with me), and I’d love to know more.  Tell me why you have chosen a more natural path.  

Let’s make it even more interesting:  Tell me why you lean towards natural remedies, and I’ll choose someone from the comments who will receive a mixed bag of goodies from my online store The Giving Essence.  I’ll choose a winner after midnight August 7, 2009.  Pretty spur of the moment so I’m not sure what you’ll get, but I guarantee it will be interesting!  I’m seeing lip balm, dried herbs, and books in someone’s future.  So let ‘er rip.  I can handle the stories if you’re willing to share.  Then next week I’ll tell you all why I chose to go natural. 

This isn’t a traditional “promoted” giveaway, so your chances will probably be pretty good.  And personally I can’t wait to hear what you have to say! Nothing makes me happier than learning more about all of you!  Ready?  Great! Get typing and I’ll head for my Giving Essence stash to gather some goodies…

24 thoughts on “New Report: Americans Spend Billions on Alternative Health Care

  1. Thanks for this post, very interesting! I personally avoid going to the doctor unless I absolutely have to. I had a lot of ear infections when I was a kid and was fed a lot of antibiotics. As a result, I absolutely avoid antibiotics and other medications, I’m very leery of the side effects and long term effects. I am a big fan of alternative medicine, but I always do my research before adding any new natural supplements/remedies to our household. I also feel cooking with lots of herbs, spices and fresh foods is essential to good health. Love your blog! :)

  2. As a chronic pain sufferer I know that doctors do no know everything. Half the time they don’t even read a person’s file before seeing them, and finally getting one to listen can take months or even years of seeing different doctors. I have heard numerous things regarding alternative medicine choices and would regard them as truthful so I am totally open to trying anything especially if it is all natural. I think the Native Americans and Chinese have the right idea.

  3. All I know is my own family experience: when we moved from Zambia, after growing up in a remote village with no “modern” health care, our pediatrician told my mother that we were the 4 most healthy children he had ever seen . . . she always believed that it was due to our lack of antibiotic overtreatment, all natural diet, and all-outdoor playtimes :-)

  4. ichoose to go alternative medicine because i like natural,i believe there is natural alternatives with a lot less side affects than the medicine. i have had so many problems with pills. i eat healthy now,drink a lot of herb teas, and i cut out most of sugar and salt. i feel healthier and my skin is a lot more smoother now.i have just started over 1 year ago. i do yoga. its a much better and healthier life. thanks

  5. I have been following the green life since I was in high school, so it was no surprise to anyone in my family that I chose alternative healing methods instead of allopathic practitioners when I required it. After all, I had watched my dad die of mesothelioma back when it was a new disease, and the doctors could do nothing but give him poison such as chemo and radiation to try and stop it. All they accomplished was to prolong his death a bit and the entire time for him was misery. When I became sick with a rare cancer 6 years ago, I waited patiently for 2 months for a diagnosis, and then it was pretty grim. It was not only difficult to diagnose, there was no cure, not even their favorite chemo or radiation. While I was waiting for the diagnosis so that I knew the name of my illness, I asked all of my energy worker friends to help me; Reiki, Yuen Method Resonance Repatterning, shaman’s clearing, soul clearing, cranial sacral therapy. I received the most benefit from acupuncture, immediate relief of my system and calming of the body and mind so that I could focus on healing. I juiced fresh organic fruits and veggies. I journaled morning pages and painted my feelings. After another 3 months of waiting to get into an endocrinologist, the only option I had in the allopathic world, he ran all of my tests again and found them all normal except for one. Darn, I missed something! He asked how this could be possible, and I explained that if I had waited on him to help me, I would be dead so I took my health into my own hands. He just turned and walked out in disbelief. I completely healed the cancer that could not be healed with my intention, the love and help of my friends and family and my diet. That’s my story.

  6. It all started with my daughter. I gave her Tylenol when she was teething and she started to have tummy issues. So, I bought homeopathic teething tablets and teething liquid and they seemed to do the trick. Then my mom got the flu and I bought her some homeopathic flu meds and it knocked it out in 2 days. I took some for precautions so I didn’t catch it, and I was fine. So I started buying more natural remedy products and have found they work better or the same as regular drugs that cause all sorts of issues. I’ve had sinus issues for 8 months and started using Green Volcanic Clay and it knocked it out in 2 weeks. This is after 5 rounds of antibiotics and steroids, which didn’t totally clear it up. I hated using prescription drugs, but the sinus infection was going into my gums and causing horrible headaches. We eat all organic or natural foods and I’ve lost 25 pounds from just that. I haven’t changed anything about my lifestyle other than switching to organic. My daughter has been sick once in her 2.6 years on this earth and I think it’s because of our natural lifestyle. It’s healthier and a better way to live!

  7. I sorta fell into this natural stuff after having a midwife assisted home birth and then when we discovered my infant daughter had severe food allergies. I began reading food labels and more and more I am paying attention to what goes into our bodies and what we are exposed to in our home.

    In the process, I have begun to question the medical establishment. Often I see them more as drug pushers who want to put a bandaid on the symptoms of illness, rather than try figure out why you are even having those symptoms in the first place.

    Holistic heathcare like chiropractic care etc just makes more sense to me. Rather than pay a huge fee to see the Dr. and then pay for expensive prescriptions, I first like to pay a visit to the knowledgeable people at my local Whole Foods. I love my herbal teas at the first sign of sickness (which isn’t often).

    As the leaders in our country try to hammer out health care reform, I am somewhat saddened. The cost of these plans is so expensive, and I have not heard much if anything about a focus on wellness, preventative or alternative health care. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it, the current methods are not working.

  8. I am a gardener. I experience the connection between myself and the earth everyday. I notice how different smells make me breathe deeper (lavender) I am awed when an oil from a plant (rue) can make my skin blister like a third degree burn (took a long time to heal) I am very respectful of nature and know that there is power in plants that we can harness to benefit our health. I use lavender oil to help me sleep. I put it in a mister with water and spray my pillows and bedding. My children enjoy having it in their rooms as well, the notice how there sleep is affected when they have a nice essence to aid their breathing. When you breathe deeper, you relax and lavender is great for that. I use citrus oil in a mister with lemon or vinegar (1 part to 4 parts water) to clean my counter tops. Great kitchen scents. I compost because I want the vegetables in my garden to grow from a varied mix of organisms that you can only attain by making your own soil. I believe in Mother Earth and in Mother Nature’s gifts.

  9. Great post!!!
    I keep forgetting to ask if you have read the book ‘The Secret Life Of Plants”written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird???
    Also Marijah Mccain has actually been in trouble w/threats,i think because of her knowledge that she shares.
    Yes,she sells products(i am not affiliated at all) but I believe her beliefs strongly!
    You are doing awesome girl,and your little son seeing Mullein…Love it 😉
    Have a bright and Herby weekend!!

  10. The route I am taking is eating organic and raw. I have a friend who gives classes on raw food preparation. She made the meals right in front of us and everything tasted wonderful.

    I was tired of being tired. I had heard my friends testimony of how she had been sick and achy and all the stuff attributed to just getting older. She was in her late 50’s at the time and she began to look into raw eating. She is now 65 and all her aches and pains are gone. She’s very energetic and has more energy than I do at 55. So, I decided to try it.

    It’s been a month now. I’ve lost 17 pounds (I’m not going hungry), the swelling in my feet has gone down, I’m sleeping through the night, I’m more alert and remain alert throughout the day, I’m not drowsy an hour after eating, my knees don’t hurt anymore, my shoulders don’t hurt anymore, my back does not hurt anymore, and I’m looking forward to all the other changes for the better that I’ve heard others tell me about.

  11. I am trying to focus on more basic and natural items in my life – less processed anything. Knowledge is power and people have lived many, many years before there were HMOs and insurance premiums. Why not give nature a chance first?

  12. I am just a regular woman that is trying to be a great wife and mother. About three years ago, after I had watched my husband suffer with intense allergies yeararound with 6-8 sinus infections per year and equal number of antibiotics since he was 13, a friend introduced use to Shaklee. Shaklee is a natural health and wellness company. We were very skeptical. All we had ever known was OTC, RX and regular doctors. But once we had children we started examining our lives a little closer. We knew there had to be a better proactive approach to our health. So we ordered a few vitamins and supplements that our friend suggested, stopped taking the RX and allergy shots that never fully helped anyway, and have not looked back. My husband has only had one sinus infection in 3 years. That infection was caused by a severe allergic reaction to a cat. His life has been completely changed. I also started thinking about all the toxic chemicals that I used to “clean” my home. So I also changed those. MY husband commented that it was the first time ever that he actually liked it when a house was cleaned. We have used many of the Shaklee products since then.
    My daughter suffered with severe constipation as an infant and toddler. We had already increased her diet with more fresh fruits, vegetables & whole grains. It helped some but she was still having lots of pain. We asked the doctors what to do. They suggested she take an OTC laxative until she outgrew it. We had another friend with a kid in the same situation. The child had been on a laxative everyday of her life for 5 years. The doctors did not have a problem with this course of treatment. For my husband and I, we knew that this was not an acceptable solution for our daughter. After much research we decided to try her on a probiotic. Such a simple thing, but the doctors never once mentioned it. Within two weeks my child’s digestive system was working properly! It was with these two examples that we have decided as a family to pursue a more natural lifestyle. Since then we have been trying to educate our friends and family. It is so rewarding to help people make good decisions about their health. I have many examples of others that have been helped, but these two examples are the one close to my heart.

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  14. I started doing more homeopathic treatments when I was pregnant and/or nursing and having back issues. I don’t like lots of medicine, especially under those circumstances, so I tried a bunch of alternative treatments. The only problem is, I’m a cheapskate, so since we already pay for health insurance (which we also use when necessary, of course), I have a reallly hard time justifying stepping outside of their network. :-( They do have some good chiropractors and acupuncturists, and I accidentally discovered one physical therapist that does craniosacral therapy, but there are some instances when I forgo what might be a good option for something that’s covered. :-/ At-home stuff I’ve tried has had to be minimal, since I don’t dare try to self-medicate with herbs during pregnancy or breastfeeding, but making ginger syrup to mix into my drinks was a lifesaver during morning sickness, and regardless of how silly flushing your nasal passages looks – well, it really helps when I feel a cold coming on with that scratchy throat!

  15. We are going more natural because we are seeing the benefits in those around us. My brother has been putting healthier foods in his body for about 8 months and lost 70lbs. He just works and does what he normally does. That’s it. We are now have vegetable/fruit/flax seeds shakes in the morning, vege wrap at lunch and a healthly vege/carb and tiniest amt. of meat.( added protien. Let you know how that goes.

  16. I regularly use acupuncture for pain management. I’ve been diagnosed
    with fibromyalgia and while I used some meds, I don’t like the idea of
    it because I strongly suspect it’s chemicals that brought this on!
    This ancient treatment really works and makes sense as it looks at the
    body wholistically. Western Medicine often just treats a symptom, but
    Chinese Medicine takes in whole body systems into consideration and
    looks closely at the individual. e.g. A cold for one person can be
    different for another.

    thanks for this chance!

  17. After battling migranes for years without telling my doctor i finally asked him for help. We talked it over and he put me on Imitrex which i QUICKLY learned i was very allergic to. After that being added to the long list of medication i have had allergic reactions to, he asked me what i thought of excersicing/meditation/yoga as an alternative. He already knew i hate to work out but since i found out i could take Yoga and Qi Gong (similar to Tai Chi) classes for free through my insurance at their wellness center i told him i would give it a shot. I very rarely have migranes now even though i dont go either class anymore. I still do yoga on my own although not as routinely as i should and I took a lot of what i learned in Qi Gong to help me relax whenever im stressed and especially before bed. Im allergic to so many things lately, even things i was able to take as a kid (including almost every broad spectrum antibiotic which baffels my doctor as to how i could be allergic to them all!) that Im really hesitant to take anything anymore. Im always looking up home remedys and natural solutions!

  18. I learned that I was allergic to aspirin when I was twelve years old. That eliminated entire families of medicine for me. My allergies were bad at the time, and in order to combat them, my mom gave me alfalfa, bee pollen and raspberry leaves. The next spring, I had NO allergies. When I got older, I began to get migraines. Obviously, aspirin was not an option, nor were any of the migraine medicines (like Imitrex) as those aspirin-allergic cannot take them. I did some research and learned that Feverfew helped mimimize/prevent migraines, and it worked like a charm! I used tea tree oil (diluted) for outbreaks of poison ivy, lavender and calendula oil for a really bad burn from hot bacon grease (that never blistered or scarred!)

    When I got my first Labrador Retriever, I fed him a raw diet and took him to holistic vets. I don’t do the conventional heartworm meds and lyme vacs that my other breeder friends do. I use garlic and black walnut capsules to keep critters off of him. The rare times I do find a tick on him it hasn’t lodged. He is as healthy now, at age nine, as he was as a pup. I have homeopathic and holistic remedies to thank for that. No, I will not be going back to allopathic doctors for myself OR the furkids. I’m sold. Alternative remedies, yeah, that’s where it’s at!

  19. Having hypothyroidism i know first hand that doc and medication isnt a cure all and can leave you with nasty side effects, now i dedicate my time to eating better, exercising and staying away from over processed foods, alternative health is the answer and i am not where i want to be yet but i know if i con’t i will get there

  20. After many trips to the doctors office to be told I was just getting old, it was just a phase, or flat out being told no and that I was wrong when I tried to bring up ideas or tests….I went to a naturopath and truly believe she saved my life. After just a few blood tests we had a plan, and within 6 months of diet, exercise and supplements to get my body back on track, I have NEVER felt better in my life. Later, I took my daughter there when her stomach issues were not getting better with several prescriptions. With just a few mild diet changes, her prescriptions are gone an not even a antacids are needed. We both swear by her and have become “walking advertisements” as well! LOL

  21. I use accupuncture and massage to treat my Carpal Tunnel and it’s been working for years and years. I turned down the surgery years ago – it’s almost worse than the CTS is and does not work in a lot of cases.

  22. i alway’s perfer to go organic and everything natural, i have chrons and lupus i was no medication for so long, that the side affects of the medicine hurt me more then the illness itself, so i started eating better, taking vitamins, and i am now expeirementing with other alternatives,. when i find something that works for my pain, i will put it on your site if you permit me in case there are others that suffer 24 hours a day.

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