Context: Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by children under 18 y of age in the United States is becoming more prevalent. According to an analysis of procedures in chiropractic practices in 2010, more than 96% of chiropractors in the United States recommended use of movement therapies (MT) and relaxation techniques (RT) to their patients. The extent of use of these methods as treatment options for specific health conditions in children, however, has been underexplored in the United States.
Objectives: The current study assessed use of MT and RT in children for treatment of various health conditions, as reported in the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and also examined variations in use across various sociodemographic categories.
Design: Secondary data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Child Alternative Medicine file were analyzed, and the research team generated weighted frequencies and inferential statistics.
Outcome measures: Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed through binary logistic regression to assess use of MT and RT as functions of various sociodemographic variables.
Results: Within the 12 mo prior to the survey, MT and RT use was reported by 2.5% and 2.9% of respondents, respectively. MT, primarily yoga, was used for the control and reduction of anxiety and stress (31.4%), asthma (16.2%), and back/neck pain (15.3%). Alternatively, RT, such as controlled breathing exercises (2.1%) and meditation (2.3%), was used for anxiety and stress (41.4%) and attention-deficit disorders (ADDs) (16.0%). Although data screening did not produce obvious predictors for RT use, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and parents' education levels were potential predictors of MT use. For example, respondents aged <10 y reported lower MT use than those >10 y (OR = 0.4; 95% CI, 0.3-0.6), and males reported lower MT use than females (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-0.7).
Conclusion: MT and RT are used by several million children in the United States each year. The current research suggests that early training on MT and RT can be seen as a useful tool that can help prevent or manage certain health problems. In addition to an examination of their role in primary prevention, the use of MT and RT should be explored further to determine how these therapies work with respect to specific health conditions.