What is CAM?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Integrative medicine combines conventional and CAM treatments for which there is evidence of safety and effectiveness.

What are CAM therapies?

CAM includes several approaches including, but not limited to:

  • Acupuncture
  • Ayurveda
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
  • Diet-based therapies
  • Massage
  • Natural products
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

Industry Data

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (HCCIH) conducted an analysis of a 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) special supplement on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and approaches.

The analysis found Americans paid out-of-pocket for complementary health approaches. $28.3 billion for adults and $1.9 billion for children was spent on alternative medical systems, practices, and products, including meditation, herbal supplements, yoga, and chiropractic. 

44,700 participants were analyzed; they included about 34,500 civilian, noninstitutionalized adults age 18 and older and about 10,200 children age 4 to 17. Information about children was provided by an adult member of the household. 

What does the data tell us?

Who?

  • 59 million Americans spend money out-of-pocket on complementary health approaches. 
  • 55.2 million adults and 4.1 million children
  • As family income went up, out-of-pocket spending on complementary approaches went up significantly. 

How much?

  • Americans spent $14.7 billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists or massage therapists. That is almost 30 percent of what they spent out-of-pocket on services by conventional physicians.
  • Americans spent $12.8 billion out-of-pocket on natural product supplements, which was about one-quarter of what they spent out-of-pocket on prescription drugs.
  • The average per user out-of-pocket expenditure for complementary health approaches was $435 for people with family incomes of less than $25,000, and $590 for those with family incomes of $100,000 or more. 

30% of Out-of-Pocket Spending on Complementary Practitioner Visits

Current findings by the largest US institutions for integrative medicine.

Conditions for which integrative medicine shows promise.

75%
Chronic Pain
59%
Gastrointestinal Disorders
55%
Depression/ Anxiety
52%
Cancer
52%
Stress

Insurance vs. Cash

100% - ​​​​50/50
Acupuncture
Exercise
Healing Touch
Massage
Mind-Body
Nutrition

References

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). (2017, September 24). Americans Spent $30.2 Billion Out-Of-Pocket On Complementary Health Approaches. Retrieved November 03, 2017, from https://nccih.nih.gov/news/press/cost-spending-06222016

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). (2016, August 02). Americans Spend $30 Billion a Year Out-of-Pocket on Complementary Health Approaches. Retrieved November 03, 2017, from https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/americans-spend-billions

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). (2017, September 24). The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. Retrieved November 07, 2017, from https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/2007/camsurvey_fs1.htm