What is “Mainstream
According to a recent survey conducted for and
published in “American Demographics” January 2001 issue by the
research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, 70% of Americans have
tried or are currently using what the study called, “alternative
medicine”. These types of
numbers beg us to ask some questions.
First, why is it
called an alternative if more than half the people are using it?
Secondly, why is it called alternative “medicine” when none of
the types of care in the study are, or use medicine?
According to the survey, 44% of the general public
utilizes some form of “faith healing” or prayer.
This was the most popular approach as found by the study.
According to the study, chiropractic or massage was the second most
popular with 33% of the population using these.
These numbers verify previous studies done by other researchers
also showing the large increase in utilization of chiropractic services
over the past decade.
The study goes on to point out that women are more
receptive than men to using the “alternatives” as named by the
study. There were also some
large regional differences noted in the survey.
Americans from the Western US were 16% more likely to visit a
chiropractor than was the rest of the country.
Southerners were more likely to practice faith healing than the
rest of the nation, and Midwesterners were the least likely to use any of
the alternatives named in the survey.
type of illness that a person suffers also has an effect on what type of
care they will seek. The
survey showed that when asked a hypothetical question, people who said if
they were diagnosed with a medically easily treatable disease would be
less likely to try an “alternative”.
On the other hand those people said that if they were diagnosed
with a complex, potentially fatal illness, they would overwhelmingly
inquire about alternative care. In
this scenario almost double, or 60% of those surveyed said they would seek
alternatives when faced with such a serious health concern.
On the other hand only 11% said they would seek out alternative
care if they felt they were in overall good health.
Age also played a role in the determination of usage
of alternatives. The age
group from 35 to 54 was constantly more likely to use alternatives than
the age group 18 to 34. With
each of the alternatives named in the survey differences ranged from 5% to
over 10% more for the older groups. With
these types of ever increasing usages it is probably time that we stop
referring to these as alternatives and start calling them other forms of
main stream health care.