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By Darren Buford


"Hands-on therapies are the stars of the alternative-medicine show," according to the August issue of Consumer Reports. The magazine recently surveyed 34,000 of its readers about various complementary and alternative medicines and found that massage and chiropractic scored higher in treating musculo-skeletal ailments -- specifically back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia -- than other nontraditional treatments such as herbs, supplements, and acupuncture/acupressure. In fact, readers said the two therapies, along with exercise and physical therapy, provided more relief for these conditions than conventional Western medications.

Other interesting results from the survey include: 47 percent of Consumer Reports' readers have tried an alternative therapy in the past two years; more and more doctors are recommending alternative treatments to their patients; and women are more likely to try hands-on therapies than men. (The results were not based on scientific research and were not measurable, but rather were the opinions of the magazine's readership on personal experience with these therapies.)

With the public's increasing knowledge about alternative therapies, as well as the growing acceptance of the Western medical establishment, it seems appropriate to surmise that massage and other forms of integrative medicine have come of age and are truly here to stay.




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