Healthy Activities Pay Dividends

Complementary and alternative health activites encourage well being

(RxWiki News) Healthy people tend to make health a priority in their lives. So those who engage in health promoting activities tend to be healthier. That's what a new analysis has found.

Researchers have found that people who use complementary and alternative health (CAM) to encourage health and well-being tend to be healthier than those who seek out CAM after they're sick. CAM includes everything from acupuncture and meditation to massage and yoga.

"For healthy dividends, invest in healthy activities."

Researchers analyzed the findings of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey found that two groups of CAM users (healthy and sick) also had different behaviors and patterns relating to their health.

The study looked at the demographics, use of traditional health services (physicians) and health-related behaviors among three groups of people who use CAM. Groups included those who use CAM for promoting good health; those who use it to treat illness and those who use CAM for both reasons.

The study found:

  • CAM users are more likely to have sought conventional healthcare services than people who don't use alternative therapies.
  • Those who use CAM for promoting health used traditional services less than those who used CAM when they were sick.
  • Health-promoting CAM users had overall healthier behaviors; they were more physically active, had lower rates of obesity than those who used CAM to treat illness.
  • Researchers conclude that additional study is needed to evaluate the long-term effects of complementary and alternative medicine.

Mark Bans, D.C., who specializes in mind-body-emotions-energy techniques, tells dailyRx, "From my own personal observation, those who take ownership of their health and their bodies would be more likely to use complementary and alternative health methods as they see their health as something that they can influence and have some control over."

Dr. Bans continued, "Those who follow more conventional medicine typically wait until something breaks and then they look to someone or something else to fix it for them."

Education, awareness and financial limitations may also add to the differences in these behaviors, Dr. Bans noted.

This CAM analysis was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and published in Health Services Research.

Review Date: 
September 7, 2011