According to a new report issued by the National Institutes of Health, Americans are spending a boat load of money on various forms of alternative medicine.
Types of alternative medicines include acupuncture, herbal supplements and meditation and millions of Americans swear by them, dBTechno reports.
Out-of-pocket spending on alternative medicines was estimated at $34 billion in a single year.
“The bottom line is that Americans spend a lot of money on CAM products, classes, materials and practitioner visits,” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Director Josephine P. Briggs, MD, said in a media briefing today. “We estimate that this (represents) approximately 11% of the total out-of-pocket spending on health care,” WebMD reports.
Americans spend about $22 billion for products. Most of that -- $14.8 billion -- was for the supplements, according to the results, which were released by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The rest, about $11.9 billion, was for an estimated 354.2 million visits to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists and other CAM practitioners.
To put the numbers in context, the $14.8 billion is equivalent to about one-third of out-of-pocket spending for regular prescription drugs, and the $11.9 billion is equivalent to about one-quarter of out-of-pocket spending for regular doctors visits.
All together, alternative medical care accounts for about 1.5 percent of the nation's total health care bill of $2.2 trillion and 11.2 percnet of out-of-pocket expenses, The Washington Post reports.