Over 37% of Americans now use some form of alternative medicine.
This number comes from a 2006 survey done by Thompson Medstat, a company that provides statistical services to the healthcare industry.
The most common reason people seek alternative care is to improve general wellness according to the report. They use herbal supplements, massage, chiropractic, mind/body therapies, acupuncture and naturopathy.
Interestingly, the most common use of alternative therapies happens in families with over $100,000 annual income. Most of these people also have post-graduate college degrees.
One thing the study emphasized is the importance of communicating to your physician any herbal or nutritional supplements you are taking. This helps reduce any likelihood of side-effects from bad combinations with prescription drugs.
I would add that your M.D. may not be trained in understanding how some herbs work. Because of this, it will also help to consult with someone who has extensive herbal training.