Access to Conventional Medical Care and the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States has greatly increased during the past decade. Using survey data from the 2002 National Health interview Survey (NHIS), we show that adults who did not get, or delayed, needed medical care because of cost in the prior twelve months were also more likely than all other adults to use CAM. Recent increases in CAM use could be the result of not only the desire for individual empowerment and patient dissatisfaction with conventional medicine, as has been claimed, but also of increases in the relative cost of conventional health care.