The latest National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that an increasing number of Americans are embracing so-called “mind and body” approaches to wellness, such as yoga and chiropractic care.
Among the findings, the number of adults practicing yoga has nearly doubled since 2002, almost 20 million adults and 1.9 million children had chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, and approximately 18 million adults and 927,000 children practiced meditation. Not surprisingly, children whose parents use a complementary health approach are more likely to use one as well. Experts believe the shift is due in part to the effectiveness of yoga and chiropractic treatments to manage pain and reduce stress.
The survey, developed by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), is administered every five years as part of an annual NHIS study to determine health trends in the United States. Survey data compiled from the 2012 survey data were compared with surveys taken in 2002 and 2007.
“The 2012 NHIS survey is the most current, comprehensive, and reliable source of information on the use of complementary health approaches by U.S. adults and children,” NCCIH Director Josephine P. Briggs said. “The survey data suggest that consumers are paying attention to medical evidence and using it to inform their decisions. This reaffirms how important it is for NIH to rigorously study complementary health approaches and make that information easily available to consumers.”
The president of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), Anthony Hamm, notes, “Chronic pain is one of the leading reasons why millions of Americans turn to mind and body approaches to improve health and pain management. ACA is encouraged that NCCIH is studying all complementary and integrated approaches to chronic pain management, including chiropractic. These integrated approaches can often offer a higher degree of patient safety and help to reduce the overuse of opioids. Nowadays, more and more doctors of chiropractic are working in integrated or multidisciplinary settings, collaborating on care with other types of providers, benefiting the patients they serve.”
The NCCIH’s research priorities include the study of complementary approaches — such as yoga, massage, and meditation — that may help manage pain and other symptoms that are not consistently addressed well by drugs and other conventional treatments.
“Some of the survey results that I find especially interesting are the shifts in Americans’ use of natural products,” Briggs observed. “Adults’ use of fish oil, probiotics or prebiotics, and melatonin increased significantly between 2007 and 2012, while use of glucosamine/chondroitin, echinacea, and garlic decreased during that same time period.”
It is believed the shift reflects published research that either affirmed certain products’ effectiveness or discredited others.
“We at NCCIH pay attention to the patterns of use of complementary health approaches — it’s one of the guiding principles that helps determine what products and practices we study — and knowing about what Americans use can help us identify their unmet health needs,” Briggs added. “As always, be safe, be well, and make informed health decisions.”
If you are interested in incorporating more mind and body strategies into your health care, make an appointment with Bluestone Chiropractic to discuss your individual needs.
The NIH, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the United States’ medical research agency and includes 27 institutes and centers.