Statistics on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Health Interview Survey
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is an annual study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), in which tens of thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences. The complementary and alternative therapies section of NHIS, developed by NCHS and NCCAM, began in 2002 and is administered every 5 years. Read more about the NHIS
The 2012 NHIS supplement on complementary and alternative therapies collected information on use of 18 complementary health approaches, which included 10 types of provider-based health therapies. NCCAM will post more analyses of the 2012 NHIS data on the website soon. Please subscribe to receive updates about our analyses of NHIS data and learn about results of other research sponsored by NCCAM.
Citation: Peregoy JA, Clarke TC, Jones LI, et al. Regional variation in use of complementary health approaches by U.S. adults. NCHS data brief, no 146. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2014.
The 2012 questionnaires:
- Adult complementary health practices questionnaire (1MB PDF)
- Child complementary health practices questionnaire (1MB PDF)
The 2007 NHIS gathered data from 23,393 completed interviews with U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and 9,417 completed interviews for U.S. children aged 0–17. The 2007 complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) section included questions on 36 types of CAM therapies commonly used in the United States—10 types of provider-based therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and 26 other therapies that do not require a provider, such as herbal supplements and meditation.
In 2007, approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and approximately 12 percent of children used some form of CAM.
Citation: Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 10, 2008. (299KB PDF)
In 2007, U.S. adults spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on visits to CAM practitioners and purchases of CAM products, classes, and materials.
Citation: Nahin, RL, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, and Bloom B. Costs of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Frequency of Visits to CAM Practitioners: United States, 2007. National health statistics reports; no 18. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009. (200KB PDF)
The 2002 NHIS gathered data from 31,044 completed interviews with U.S. adults age 18 years and over. The 2002 CAM section of NHIS included questions on 27 types of CAM therapies commonly used in the United States. These included 10 types of provider-based therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and 17 other therapies that do not require a provider, such as natural products (herbs or botanical products), special diets, and megavitamin therapy.
The 2002 NHIS survey found that approximately 36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over used some form of CAM.
Citation: Barnes P, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. CDC Advance Data Report #343. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. May 27, 2004. (536KB PDF)