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Consumer Reports Survey Reveals Most Helpful Alternative Treatments

Alternative healing treatments continue to gain popularity, and a reader survey by Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, showed three out of four adults use some form of alternative therapy for general health, according to a report on Seattlepi.com. Also, doctors are more open to alternative therapies than many people realize.

Chiropractic, deep-tissue massage and yoga dominated the lists of helpful alternative treatments for discomfort from conditions such as back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis, and the reader survey also revealed meditation, deep-breathing exercises and yoga are being used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, headache and migraine, depression and insomnia, the article stated.

Highlights from the survey as reported by Seattlepi.com include the following:

–   Meditation and yoga proved equally effective for treating anxiety as 42 percent and 46 percent respectively of those surveyed said these therapies “helped a lot.” The same is true for depression, with 36 percent and 35 percent reporting improvement.

–   Yoga did nearly as well as meditation for treating insomnia – 21 percent and 24 percent but, it significantly outperformed meditation for headaches and migraine, and especially for back pain. In fact, for back pain, yoga, deep-tissue massage and Pilates all rated around the same as prescription medication. However, chiropractic therapy outperformed all other treatments.

–   For respiratory problems such as cold, flu and allergies, the survey found that very small numbers of readers tried deep-breathing exercises or chiropractic care. However, those who did reported promising results. Although only 2 percent of cold, flu or allergy sufferers sought chiropractic care, more than 40 percent said it helped a lot. The same with the 3 percent who tried deep-breathing for allergies, with 32 percent who reported it helped a lot. Three percent also tried deep-breathing for cold and flu and 35 percent said it helped a lot, the report stated.

–   Of alternative treatments used for general health, mainstream vitamins and minerals were the most widely used, with 73 percent of respondents who reported taking them, and approximately one in five reported using mind-body therapies, such as yoga, or hands-on therapies, such as massage.

–   Readers are keeping their doctors in the loop to varying degrees about their use of alternative therapies. And some even report turning to these options on a doctor’s recommendation. Twenty-eight percent of readers who used deep-tissue massage, usually for back or neck pain, said their doctors had recommended it; 26 percent of people who used deep-breathing exercises did so on the recommendation of a doctor, and the same was true for the 21 percent who saw a chiropractor.



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