Use of alternative therapies: estimates from the 1994 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Access to Care Survey

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1997 Feb;13(2):83-9. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(96)00299-0.


This study sought to update national estimates of the use of alternative therapies, to improve the quality of those estimates, and to examine differences between users and nonusers of alternative medicine. Data were analyzed from the general probability sample (N = 3450) of the 1994 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Access to Care Survey. The results indicate that nearly 10% of the U.S. population, almost 25 million persons, saw a professional in 1994 for at least one of the following four therapies: chiropractic, relaxation techniques, therapeutic massage, or acupuncture. Even though users of alternative therapies made almost twice as many visits to conventional (or orthodox) medical providers as nonusers made, the former still reported much higher levels of unmet need for medical care. The growing emphasis on market-driven health care and consumer choice suggests that alternative therapies could have a larger role in the health-care system of the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States