Alternatives to conventional medical care are increasingly popular in the United States, and their growing use by consumers represents a major trend in Western medicine. Alternative therapies appear to be used most frequently for medical conditions that are chronic, such as back pain, arthritis, sleep disorders, headache, and digestive problems. Surveys of U.S. consumers have shown that more people visit alternative practitioners each year than visit conventional primary-care physicians. Consumers do not necessarily reject conventional medicine, however. Many simply feel that alternative modalities offer complementary approaches that are more in line with their personal health philosophies.
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