Release date 07/21/2011
YONKERS, NY — A new reader survey published in the September issue of Consumer Reports and available online at www.ConsumerReportshealth.org finds that three of four adults use some form of alternative therapy for general health. Readers rated prescription drugs as helping the most for the majority of 12 health problems, but chiropractic, deep-tissue massage, and yoga, dominated the lists of helpful alternative treatments for discomfort from conditions such as back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis. The survey also suggests that meditation, deep-breathing exercises, and yoga, are being used to treat a range of conditions including anxiety, headache and migraine, depression, and insomnia.
The report indicates that doctors are more open to alternative therapies than most people assume.
Some highlights from the report:
The report includes a brief user’s guide for hands-on and mind-body therapy with an assessment of the evidence. People who decide to try alternative treatments should talk to their physician first to set realistic expectations for improvement. Many insurers cover acupuncture and chiropractic, and some offer discounts for other treatments. In addition, some treatments might qualify for reimbursement from a consumer’s flexible spending or health savings account. Consumers should check with their plans for details. Some guidance on finding a practitioner:
Acupuncture and acupressure. Contact the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (www.medicalacupuncture.org) or the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org).
Chriropractic. Contact the American Chiropractic Association (www.acatoday.org)
Meditation. For stress-management programs, check local hospitals and nearby medical schools. Or teach yourself with a book or audiotape. The Meditation Society of America posts free instructional information at www.meditationsociety.com.
Yoga. Contact your local yoga studio or fitness center. Information about yoga therapists can be found at the International Association of Yoga Therapists at www.iayt.org.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a survey of readers as part of its Spring 2010 Annual Questionnaire. A total of 45,601 Consumer Reports subscribers answered questions on their use of alternative treatments. A total of 30,332 survey respondents gave CR their perceptions of the helpfulness of treatments for the 12 medical conditions reviewed in the story. Consumer Reports subscribers might not be representative of the general population.