Many Americans…choose to treat themselves with complementary and alternative medicine in lieu of surgery, pharmaceuticals or other traditional care.  According to a July study from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, based on interviews with more than 23,300 adults during the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, almost 40% of adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine to treat a variety of conditions.

They spent about $33.9 billion on these practices in 2007, accounting for about 11.2% of the public’s total out-of-pocket health expenditures. In 1997, the last time such a survey was taken, the figure was $27 billion…Alternative therapies are used most commonly to treat conditions such as back, joint and arthritis pain, colds and depression. The new study found the most popular therapies to be natural products, deep breathing, meditation, chiropractic and massage.

The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 9