The October 2005 issue of the Journal of Aging and Health published the results of a health survey that showed that about 40% of people between the ages of 35 and 64 years reported that they use one of several forms of non-medical healthcare for either disease prevention, treatment of ailments, or both. The study grouped all non-medical forms of care into what they referred to as "CAM" (complementary and alternative medicine).
The survey showed that slightly more than a third of all U.S. adults surveyed said they used some form of CAM procedures, including herbs, megavitamins, chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, and yoga. The study also showed that men and women in their 40s and 50s were most likely to use these procedures. Additionally, this usage was geared more toward prevention than toward treatment of any specific condition or problem.
Researcher, Dr. Grzywacz from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues wrote, "The results of this study indicate that middle-aged adults are more likely than younger or older adults to use all types of CAM, and that they are less likely than both older and younger adults to use any CAM modality to treat a specific condition."
The study was conducted by analyzing data from 31,044 adult participants in the 2002 National Health Interview Survey. This national sample has been conducted annually since 1957 by the Center for Disease and Control's National Center for Health Statistics.
According to the study, age was a factor in the usage of CAM procedures. It was found that 12.6% of 45 to 54 year olds use chiropractic, massage and similar methods. That number dropped to 8.7% of those in the age group of 18 to 24, and down to only 2.1% of those 85 and older. The authors noted that the use of chiropractic, massage, meditation and yoga also tend to climb through adulthood, but falls off after age 84.
The study was underwritten by a grant from the National Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.