Non-Traditional Medicine in America

Summary: More than a third of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, according to the most comprehensive look yet at non-traditional therapies in the United States. And two-thirds of Americans use "prayer for health reasons."

Comments: We were not much surprised by the overall finding that a great many Americans have turned to complementary and alternative medicine. We were also not surprised by the finding that many Americans pray for health. We knew that American was a nation prone to prayer.

One thing that did surprise us was learning from the survey that 43% of the respondents prayed for their own health whereas prayer by others for the respondent's health was only 24%. Is prayer for health more often for oneself as opposed to the health of others?

We were also interested to see that only 4% of the respondents used diet-based therapies (Atkins, Pritikin, Ornish, and Zone diets). From all that is written about such diets, we would have thought that 10 times that number of people were into these diets. Do 10 people talk about these diets for everyone on them?

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors,

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