On July 30, 2009, National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a survey that
shows Americans spent nearly $34 billion on out-of-pocket on complementary and
alternative medicine (CAM) over the 12 months
before the survey conducted in 2007. Among the $34 billion, $4.1 billion were
spent on Yoga, Tai Chi and/or Qigong classes.
to this survey - the 2007 National Health Interview Survey - CAM accounts for
approximately 1.5 percent of total health care expenditures ($2.2 trillion˛) and
11.2 percent of total out-of-pocket expenditures (conventional out-of-pocket:
$286.6 billion˛ and CAM out-of-pocket: $33.9 billioną) on health care in the
$33.9 billion spent on CAM out-of-pocket, an estimated $22.0 billion was spent
on self-care costs—CAM products, classes, and
materials—with the majority going to the purchase of nonvitamin, nonmineral,
natural products ($14.8 billion) such as fish oil, glucosamine and Echinacea.
U.S. adults also spent approximately $11.9 billion on an estimated 354.2 million
visits to CAM practitioners such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc.
these figures in context, the $14.8 billion spent on nonvitamin, nonmineral,
natural products is equivalent to approximately one-third of total out-of-pocket
spending on prescription drugs, and the $11.9 billion spent on CAM practitioner
visits is equivalent to approximately one-quarter of total out-of-pocket
spending on physician visits.
"These data indicate that the U.S. public makes millions of visits to CAM providers each year and spends billions of dollars for
these services, as well as for self-care forms of CAM,"
said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., MPH, lead author of the cost of complementary and
alternative medicine analysis in this survey. "While these expenditures
represent just a small fraction of total health care spending in the
United States, they constitute a substantial part of
out-of-pocket health care costs."