Table 4

Reasons Persons Who Use Only Alternative Medicine for Their Healthcare Used CAM for Treatment Purposes: NHIS, 2002 (weighted)

Negative Reasons1

Positive Reasons1

Conventional medical treatments wouldn't help:

% (S.E.)2

Conventional medical treatments were too expensive:

% (S.E.)2

Suggested by a conventional medical professional:

% (S.E.)2

Thought it would be interesting to try:

% (S.E.)2


All individuals who use only alternative medicine

21.6 (1.7)

20.4 (1.8)

13.2 (1.5)

54.1 (2.3)

Individuals with one or more health needs who use only alternative medicine3

All individuals with one or more health needs

23.6 (2.4)

22.2 (2.3)

13.2 (1.9)

55.8 (2.9)

Reported a cost or non-cost barrier to conventional care

26.5 (4.1)

40.0 (5.0)

13.0 (3.2)

47.5 (5.0)

Individuals without a health need who use only alternative medicine

17.0 (2.8)

15.7 (2.8)

12.9 (2.7)

51.7 (3.9)


1 Respondents may select more than one reason for using a alternative medicine therapy for treatment.

2 S.E. =standard error

3 Adults with one or more health needs were defined as those who had one or more of the following: poor or fair health; health is worse off than it was 12 months ago; one or more serious chronic or acute conditions (see definition in Table 1); a functional limitation (see definition in Table 1); and/or back problems.

Nahin et al. BMC Health Services Research 2010 10:220   doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-220

Open Data