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Many Americans are experimenting with alternative health treatments, according to Consumer Reports and seen on MindBodyGreen. A recent survey showed that more than 38 million Americans make more than 300 million visits to alternative health practitioners per year. Yoga, meditation, deep tissue massage, and chiropractic treatments were considered popular and effective treatments.

Vitamins and minerals are also becoming widely used, according to a National Institute of Health study found on Natural Health News, Forty-four percent of males and 53 percent of females reported using supplements.

However, Americans still think that pharmaceuticals work better than alternative health treatments for most conditions. Pharmaceuticals, however, often come with a host of side effects. You're likely well versed in some of them if you've ever watched the evening news and sat through the slew of pharmaceutical commercials to heal all that ails you. While, undoubtedly these can sometimes be a necessity, the benefits of natural and alternative health should not be underestimated.

Alternative health treatments are often preventative so they have the benefit of keeping you healthy and pain free longer. Additionally, they effectively treat a host of ailments with few, if any side effects. They're often less expensive, less dramatic, and they view the body as a whole organism, rather than each part individually. But as MindBodyGreen's Jason Wachub said, they must also be combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

According to Consumer Reports:

"We have to be responsible captains of our own health ship," says Avis Brown, 65, of Morgan Hill, Calif., a reader who participated in our survey. "And doctors are our navigators." She said that she received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia about 18 years ago but that massage, meditation, and a sugar-free diet have helped her remain free of symptoms for more than 10 years.

Just like Avis said, in the end, it's about finding balanced, low stress treatments for all that ails you and that could include diet, exercise, Western medicine, and alternative therapies.

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