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Although many Americans once scoffed at untraditional healing practices, a good deal of people are now dipping their toes into this trend. Holistic healing practices—aka alternative medicine—are any form of healing or medicine that is not deemed “traditional” by Western standards. Some of these practices include hydrotherapy and Reiki. When used in tandem with Western medicine, they are called “complementary practices”—they are only considered “alternative” when used instead of Western medicine.


Every five years, the National Health Interview Survey assesses how Americans embrace complementary and holistic approaches. The most recent survey taken in 2012 indicates that similar to previous years, 33.2% of American adults use complementary health practices. However, this study did indicate a significant increase in out-of-pocket dollard spent on chiropractic and acupuncture, which suggests that Americans may be relying more and more on holistic practices than ever before.

This means that if you haven’t gotten on the holistic bandwagon, it may be time to at least learn about your options. From treating anxiety to lower-back pain to tension headaches, these practices have been called natural cure-alls.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions:

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