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Article Touts Increased Demand for Chiropractic and Alternative Services

Inside the July 14, 2002 publication from the Boston Globe appeared a study with the headline, "Demand for Alternative Medicine Rises - Acupuncturists and Chiropractors Increasingly Sought." The content defines all types of healthcare which are not medical as "Alternative Medicine". Most chiropractic doctors object to the employment of this term since chiropractic care is clearly not medicine. Chiropractic stands as a separate and distinct form of health care.

Regardless of this terminology issue, the Globe article cited numbers from the National Institutes of Health that calculate that most of "alternative" health care represents a $21 billion-a-year industry. This number ought to be saved in context. In accordance with figures released in the report on February 7, 2001, the US Census Bureau demonstrated that US health care industry revenues hit $1.01 trillion in 1999. The content also states that surveys show about one-third of Americans visit one of these simple "alternative" practitioners at least one time annually, and therefore this percentage increases.

In an effort to hold the medical profession better understand chiropractic as well as other types of health care classified as alternative, Tufts University received a five-year, $1.5 million grant last August through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for locating methods to include alternative medicine included in the required medical school curriculum. Dr. Mary Lee, dean of educational affairs at Tufts' School of Medicine stated, "The NIH has an interest, and so are we, in training traditional doctors to comprehend complementary medicine."

To satisfy the elevated demand the article cited statistics and projections that showed the current and future numbers of doctors of chiropractic. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) in the year 2000, there were an estimated 49,949 chiropractors. The BLS projects that by 2010 that number will grow to 61,654 chiropractors, representing a 23 percent increase. "Since the average growth rate for all occupations over a 10-year period is 15 percent, those figures are significant," said BLS economist Alan Lacey. This projected growth represents the ever-increasing desire on the part of the public to continue to embrace chiropractic care.

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