$34 billion is a lot of money.
It is the amount that Americans spend each year on alternative medicine for pain management and proactive health benefits, according to a survey conducted three years ago by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics (CDC/NCHS).
Seniors represent a considerable portion of the group of people interested in alternative health therapies. In fact, 41% of older adults reported their use of complementary and alternative medicines in a study published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. And this number is steadily increasing.
What is “alternative care”? What is the attraction to it? The term is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that is outside the scope of mainstream medicine. Alternative modalities encompass a wide variety of popular disciplines—including meditation, massage, yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, chiropractic, dietary approaches, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies--among others.
For seniors who worry about the cost or side effects of prescription medication, alternative solutions are becoming increasingly appealing. For example, people who experience acupuncture and chiropractic frequently report relief from their back or joint pain. In addition, many seniors who do yoga and tai chi swear by the effects of improved balance and increased flexibility.
It is always a good thing to consider options; alternative therapies may offer us viable choices.
Additional information is available at www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-management-alternative-therapy
(Excerpt from her CSA Journal article, Healthy Complements: The Role of Alternate Healthcare Options, December 2009.)
Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a freelance writer specializing in social, health, and spiritual concerns of seniors. She resides in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts. Lhjablon@gmail.com