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Prayer: The Most Common Complimentary & Alternative Medicine Practice

Sat, Jun. 30, 2012 Posted: 11:53 AM

What is the most common type of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatment that mid-life women in the United States use to maintain their health?

Researchers analyzed data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) involving a random national sample of 5,849 women ages 40-59 years. Overall, 46% of women used some type of CAM treatment in the past 12 months, with the most common being herbs (25%), other natural products (9%); relaxation techniques (deep breathing exercises 17%, progressive relaxation 6%) ; chiropractic care (10%); yoga (8%), tai chi (1%), or qi gong (0.5%); and massage (7%). However, the most common CAM practice used for health was prayer. (54%).

Citation: Upchurch DM, Dye CE, Chyu L, Gold EB, Greendale GA (2010). Demographic, behavioral, and health correlates of complementary and alternative medicine and prayer use among midlife women: 2002. Journal of Women's Health 19 (1):23-30

Comment: Using highly reliable data from the NHIS, this study documents the wide use of prayer for health reasons among middle-aged women in the U.S. This study shows that prayer is more commonly used for health reasons than are all other CAM practices combined.

The above information is taken from the July 2012 issue of CROSSROADS, a publication of Duke University's Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health.

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Dale Fletcher