For the last 2 decades, the phrase “complementary and alternative medicine” has been used to describe a wide array of treatments, health practices, and practitioner disciplines with historical roots outside conventional medicine. Examples include ancient practices such as acupuncture; herbal remedies; visits to complementary clinicians including naturopaths, homeopaths, and chiropractors; and meditative practices such as mindfulness, yoga, and tai chi. Data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey show that about 40% of US residents integrate 1 or more of these unconventional health practices into their personal health care,1 spending about $34 billion per year out of pocket.2
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