Alternative medicine a big business in U.S.: report | Reuters

WASHINGTON Complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture, herbal supplements and meditation are big business in the United States, totaling nearly $34 billion in out-of-pocket spending, according to a government report released on Thursday.

More than 38 million adults visited chiropractors, acupuncturists and other specialists in alternative care in 2007, the report from the National Institutes of Health found.

About two-thirds of this amount was spent on products such as supplements, with nearly $12 billion going to practitioners, according to the report from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“Despite this emphasis on self-care therapies, 38.1 million adults made an estimated 354.2 million visits to practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine,” the report said.

Complementary medicine, such as aromatherapy to ease discomfort after surgery, is used with conventional medicine whereas alternative medicine is used in place of it, the center says.

Other findings:

* Complementary or alternative therapies make up 1.5 percent of the $2.2 trillion in total health care expenditures.

* Popular products included fish oil, glucosamine to treat arthritis and Echinacea to prevent or treat colds.

* Common treatments included acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation and traditional healing.

* On average, an adult spent $121.92 on visits to providers and paid $29.37 out of pocket per visit.

* People spent $14.8 billion out of pocket to buy nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products — a third of what is spent on pharmaceuticals.

“With so many Americans using and spending money on (complementary and alternative) therapies, it is extremely important to know whether the products and practices they use are safe and effective,” said NCCAM director Dr. Briggs.

“This underscores the importance of conducting rigorous research and providing evidence-based information on complementary and alternative medicine so that health care providers and the public can make well-informed decisions.”

Her institute was established in 1998 to conduct this research.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)


How Implementing These “7 Elements of Success” Will Increase A Chiropractor’s Visibility And Attract New Patients

While chiropractors are taught to diagnose specific symptoms with their patients, this skill does not necessarily yield the same results when it comes to spinal care chiropractic understanding how to grow their practice. This is evident in the ongoing challenge many chiropractors face each year just to get their name out there to attract enough patients to stay in business. The Small Business Administration states that 50% of all businesses fail within their first five years in business. According to Bloomberg, 8 out 10 entrepreneurs fail within their first eighteen months in business. A staggering 80% crash and burn.

The reason many chiropractors struggle is because they dont have a clear blueprint for success. Most graduate from Chiropractic College without ever having received any formal business training. They open a practice and figure they will eventually succeed. Nothing could be further from what most experience. An important first step for every chiropractor is network chiropractic to properly position themselves for maximum visibility. Developing relationships in your own community is the palmer chiropractic method best possible way, says Drew Stevens, PhD.

According to Stevens, these seven elements increase visibility for chiropractors:

1. Make a splash. Become a prominent figure in benefits of a chiropractor your local community

2. Advertising Ads that connect emotionally chiropractic school cost and separate you from competitors

3. Promotion Specific time-sensitive offers used to sell inventory and get patients

4. Community and Professional Affiliations Join the Chamber of Commerce

5. A Website Develop a solid presence online. New patients are online looking

6. Personal Interactions and Referrals Get support and backing from your community

7. Buzz Marketing and Word of Mouth Get your patients raving about you to others

This is a process that takes time. The results wont show up overnight. Chiropractors that make the time to increase their visibility using these seven elements will grow their practice and attract new patients.