Alternative medicine is a combined term used for various methods or practices of healing brought in practice by physicians or non-physicians, in addition to or apart from the conventional medicine. It is estimated that a little over 33% of the US population uses some form of alternative medicine that is mainly comprised of remedies derived from several different types of traditional and ethnic therapies.

All of these therapies have diverse practice and/ or product based guidelines that are not a part of conventional Western medicine. This may include meditation, acupuncture, prayer, herbal supplements, chiropractors, massage therapy and other natural medicines.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a separate division, called The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, that looks into the research, ethical and validation and related issues of alternative medicine that is prevalent in the US.

A recent statistics from the NIH shows that as many as 36% of the American adult population relies on one or more forms of alternative medicine to ward off sickness or derive other health benefits. The study doesn’t limit the use of alternative medicine to this specific population and shows that women, college students.

Former smokers and people who have undergone previous hospitalization are also using alternative medicine practices. The sheer holistic nature of alternative medicine is what draws people to it, but despite its widespread use and popularity, it remains relatively understudied.

Some of the most widely used alternative therapies in the US include biologically based practices, mind-body medicine, manipulative and body-based practices, and alternative herbal medicine, Ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy and energy medicine.

Alternative Medicine [] provides detailed information on Alternative Medicine, Alternative Herbal Medicine, Alternative Medicine.

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