What are some of the advantages of having alternative medicine? These benefits include Improved Health Status, Holistic philosophy, Closer practitioner-patient interactions, and lower cost. However, these benefits may not be as significant as you think. To better understand the benefits of CAM, let us explore some of the most common factors. The health benefits of CAM vary widely, depending on the type of treatment.

Health status

While the use of alternative medicine is growing, some factors are more significant than others. One study found that 19.3% of American adults did not seek conventional healthcare in the past year, 38.4% reported having at least one health need, and 24.8% used alternative medicine. Adults who use alternative medicine had more health problems and delayed seeking conventional care for those ailments due to cost and non-cost factors. Age, gender, and education were positively associated with the use of alternative medicine, while poverty and health insurance coverage negatively affected use.

Researchers found that a substantial proportion of people who used only alternative medicine did so because they did not feel comfortable with conventional medical treatment. The most common reason given was the desire to try something new. Twenty percent stated that conventional medical treatments were too expensive. Interestingly, people who had one or more health needs were significantly more likely to use alternative medicine than those who did not have a specific health need. However, future studies could assess whether individuals are aware of failsafe methods to pay for conventional healthcare.

These findings highlight the importance of identifying the enabling factors for people who use alternative medicine. Individuals who use alternative medicine are generally younger than 45 years old, non-Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white. These individuals were married, non-Hispanic, and in the private sector. Furthermore, those individuals who used alternative medicine were less likely to be poor, nor did they delay seeking conventional healthcare because of cost.

Demographic factors

The use of alternative medicine is associated with higher educational attainment. Those with graduate degrees were more likely to use alternative medicine, while individuals with low educational attainment were less likely. Overall, more women than men reported using alternative medicine, but men were slightly less likely to report using it. In addition, higher education was associated with greater use of alternative medicine, with an average of 50% of respondents having a graduate degree or higher.

Among other factors, health status is an important predictor of the use of alternative medicine. People with poor health are more likely to use alternative medicine, but people with elevated levels of income are less likely to use it. Additionally, specific health problems are associated with higher use of alternative medicine, such as urinary tract problems, back pain, and chronic pain. However, this research does not suggest that all alternative health care is equally effective, nor that it is necessarily beneficial for everyone.

Another study examined the demographics of people who use alternative medicine. Results indicated that people with higher educational levels and a holistic health philosophy were more likely to use alternative health care. However, those with a holistic health philosophy were less likely to have poorer health. Among those with higher education, people with less religious beliefs, and those who are more likely to have transformational experiences were less likely to use alternative health care. However, the use of alternative medicine was associated with higher income and greater health status.

The results of this study also reveal that individuals' negative attitudes toward conventional medicine are not a significant predictor of using alternative health care. Although the study sample was made up of predominantly educated individuals, it does under-represent the poorer and non-English-speaking segments of the population. This may have slightly inflated the results of the study. The lack of information on nonrespondents also suggests that self-selection bias may be a factor.

Holistic philosophy

The term "holistic" is often associated with alternative medicine, but it has a long history. Ayurveda, a form of herbal medicine developed in India in the sixth century BC, focused on using medicinal properties of plants to promote healing. Similar holistic practices began in ancient Greece and Rome and gradually made their way to the United States. However, they differ in the approach and degree of focus of holistic practitioners.

In addition to focusing on the physical aspect of health, holistic medicine emphasizes the psychological and social aspects of a person's well-being. It focuses on a patient's uniqueness, the mutuality of the doctor-patient relationship, and individual responsibility for their health. The philosophy of holism has been criticized by both its proponents and detractors. Nonetheless, its philosophy and practice continue to gain followers.

The underlying philosophy of holistic medicine is rooted in balance. The idea is that the body is made up of interconnected parts, and that any imbalance will result in negative effects on the entire system. As a result, holistic practitioners work to bring balance to every part of the body. While traditional medicine may be effective for some conditions, holistic practitioners look for a balance between the body and mind to create the best overall health. The goal of holistic medicine is to help a patient develop a healthy lifestyle and a keen sense of self.

In contrast, the conventional medical approach relies on drugs and procedures to treat symptoms. A holistic practitioner digs deeper to determine the underlying cause of a disease. Holistic practitioners may prescribe more than one therapy to help a patient. They may also encourage dietary and lifestyle changes. The results of these studies are not conclusive. Holistic physicians do not prescribe drugs. They focus on promoting the health of a patient.

Closer practitioner-patient interactions

A new study has found that close practitioner-patient interactions are associated with lower rates of physician-patient conflict. The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It is currently being reviewed by the National Institute on Aging for publication. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine also funded the study through the grant R01 AG17973.