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August 21, 2013

Perspectives on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2013;310(7):691-692. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6540

For the last 2 decades, the phrase “complementary and alternative medicine has been used to describe a wide array of treatments, health practices, and practitioner disciplines with historical roots outside conventional medicine. Examples include ancient practices such as acupuncture; herbal remedies; visits to complementary clinicians including naturopaths, homeopaths, and chiropractors; and meditative practices such as mindfulness, yoga, and tai chi. Data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey show that about 40% of US residents integrate 1 or more of these unconventional health practices into their personal health care,1 spending about $34 billion per year out of pocket.2