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NIH study underlines use of yoga and meditation

February 10, 2015
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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A nationally representative survey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that the number of Americans using mind and body approaches, such as meditation and yoga, remains high. According to the NIH, rates of use might be partly attributed to a growing body of research showing that some mind and body practices can help manage pain and reduce stress.

Using complementary services to avoid the overuse of opioids for pain is a major focus of the NIH research efforts right now, said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., Director of  the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of NIH, at a press conference today.

“We have certainly learned that the mind and body approaches  like chiropractic manipulation and yoga are a part of Americans’ strategies to manage pain,” she said. “And this is a very active area of research for us and an important area for us to investigate given the enormous problems of pain management. And it’s an important area for healthcare providers to be aware of.”

Survey highlights include:

  • Approximately 21 million adults (nearly double the number from 2002) and 1.7 million children practiced yoga.
  • Nearly 20 million adults and 1.9 million children had chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation.
  • Nearly 18 million adults and 927,000 children practiced meditation.
  • Children whose parents use a complementary health approach are more likely to use one as well.

The 2012 survey results, released in a National Health Statistics Report by NCHS, are based on combined data from 88,962 American adults and 17,321 interviews with a knowledgeable adult about use of the approaches by children aged 4 to17 years.

Read more about the use of other mind and body approaches and the use of natural products in the full report