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About 5 Percent of Adults with Insomnia Use Alternative Therapies

is equal to about 1.62 million adults in the general population. Survey respondents who were younger and who had a higher level of education were more likely to use CAM to help them sleep; use of CAM was not related to having any of the five medical conditions studied.

Among those who use CAM therapies, 60.7 percent told their conventional physician. Sixty-five percent used biological methods, which include herbal medicines, diet interventions and vitamin therapy, and mind-body therapies such as meditation were used by 39 percent. Fifty-six percent reported that the therapy was very important to their health and well-being.

Forty-nine percent of those who used herbal medicine and 48 percent of those who used relaxation therapy reported that CAM helped alleviate their condition. "Although the question asking whether the CAM therapy helped provides useful information on the public's perception of effectiveness of CAM therapies for insomnia or trouble sleeping, it does not directly address the efficacy of the CAM therapy," the authors write. "A positive answer to this question could be due to a placebo effect, the natural history of the condition or other unidentified influences rather than efficacy of the CAM treatment." The survey results provide valuable information about the use of CAM that can guide future studies of whether these therapies are effective, they conclude.
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