Complementary and alternative medicines are popular around the world when it comes to treating and preventing illness. Many use these medicines as an alternative to conventional medicine. Examples of these unconventional medicines people probably believe are conventional such as chiropractic, and herbal remedies. Providers of these medicines often claim that they will improve the patients condition, yet they have not yet been proven effective by scientific standards. These medicines are so popular in the United States that Americans spend $34 billion in this industry. 38% of adults and 12% of children reported using these methods in 2008.
The largest area of this industry include the sale of vitamins, herbs, and food supplements. On average Americans spend over $22 billion a year for these treatments with uncertain effectiveness. Many people take vitamins to ensure their health. In my dorm I have my own vitamins and calcium pills which I try to take as often as I can remember, but are these actually helping me? It turns out that my calcium pills do little to prevent bone loss. As for my vitamin pills, the vitamin C does lower the severity and length of colds but the vitamin E can actually increase the risk of death from various causes. These pills also provide "mega doses" so the consumer is receiving amounts of vitamins and minerals much greater than the recommended dose. The label on my vitamin pills states that I am taking between 25%-2000% of the recommended daily value depending on the vitamin or mineral; is this really good for me? This article gives great insight into the harmful sides of vitamins. Experts say that we can get sufficient amounts of what we need just by eating a balanced diet, that seems like a much cheaper and safer alternative to purchasing and consuming vitamin pills.
Almost 20% of Americans have reported seeing a chiropractor in attempts to treat pain and injuries. These health professionals manipulate the spine to treat pain. These doctors cannot perform surgery or prescribe medications to patients in an attempt to ease pain. Many people claim that visiting a chiropractor in fact does help; I have had plenty of friends and family members who would claim this. I have always thought the Chiropractic treatments were a proven method of healing the body. To my surprise there is no scientific support to this practice. It is believed that that some chiropractic procedures may help, they are no better than the results one would receive with exercise, using pain relievers, , physical therapy, and general practitioner care.
After learning about these two types of unconventional medicines that are widely used by Americans and present in my life it makes me wonder if they are worth wild? Both are pricy practices and it seems as if the results are either harmful or a placebo effect. The article linked to this page states a question which I, myself am wondering about. If there is so much information out there about the dangerous effects and ineffectiveness of these treatments, why are they still so highly in use by Americans?